What is vaginal cancer?

Vaginal cancer is when abnormal cells in the vagina start to divide and grow in an uncontrolled way.

Symptoms of vaginal cancer

The main symptom of vaginal cancer is bleeding in between your periods or after the menopause.

Getting diagnosed

You usually start by seeing your GP. They will examine you and might refer you for tests or to a specialist.

Risks and causes of vaginal cancer

We don’t know what causes most vaginal cancers. But there are some factors that may increase your risk of developing it.

Types of vaginal cancer

There are a number of different types of vaginal cancer. The grade of a cancer gives doctors an idea of how fast growing it is.

Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN)

Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN) means that there are abnormal cells in the inner lining of the vagina.

Stages and grades for vaginal cancer

The stage of a vaginal cancer tells you how big it is and whether it has spread. The grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope. They help your doctor decide which treatment you need.

Treatment for vaginal cancer

Your treatment depends on a number of factors including the type and stage of cancer and where the cancer is in your vagina.

Research and clinical trials for vaginal cancer

All treatments must be fully researched before they can be used as standard treatments. Research trials aim to find out if new treatments are safe and better than those currently available for vaginal cancer.

Survival for vaginal cancer

Survival depends on many factors including the stage and type of your cancer. These figures for vaginal cancer survival should only be used as a general guide.

Living with vaginal cancer

There is support available to help you cope with a diagnosis of cancer, life during treatment and life after cancer.  

Last reviewed: 
06 Sep 2021
Next review due: 
06 Sep 2024