There are five main types of female cancer that can affect a woman’s reproductive organs, which are usually referred to as gynecologic cancer as a group. These types include cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancer.

What is vaginal cancer?

This rare cancer most commonly occurs in the cells that line the surface of the vagina (also called the birth canal). Cancer that starts in your vagina, also known as primary vaginal cancer, is rare – as it is more likely that cancer will spread from other parts of your body to your vagina.

Vaginal Cancer Types

Vaginal squamous cell carcinoma:
The most common type, starting in the squamous cells lining the surface of the vagina.

Vaginal adenocarcinoma:
Develops in the glandular cells on the surface of your vagina.

Vaginal melanoma:
Begins in the melanocytes of your vagina.

Vaginal sarcoma:
Develops in either the muscle cells or connective tissue cells of your vagina walls.

Vaginal Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

The risk of being diagnosed with vaginal cancer increases with age and most people are older than 60. Other risk factors include multiple sexual partners, smoking, and being infected with HIV.

Here are a few quick answers to questions relating to vulvar cancer, which is usually also diagnosed in older women:

How quickly does vulvar cancer grow?

Vulvar cancer usually grows slowly.

What happens if you have vulvar cancer?

Vulvar cancer affects the external genital area, which will most commonly be the outer lips of the vagina. A lump, itching or bleeding are symptoms of vulvar cancer.

Is vulvar cancer terminal?

Recent studies have shown that 71% of women live at least five years after being diagnosed. Survival rates will, however, depend on the stage of vulvar cancer and other factors such as the type of vulvar cancer that has been diagnosed.

Would I know if I had cancer?

If you feel any strange new lumps or encounter inexplicable new symptoms, you should visit your doctor for a check-up. Some cancers don’t present symptoms, but others do.

If you would like to discuss your comprehensive female cancer protection under our Femme Cover policy, contact Total Risk Administrators today.

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