Vaginal cancer risk

Preventable cases

Vaginal cancer cases are preventable, UK, 2015

 

Caused by infections

Vaginal cancer cases linked to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, UK

The estimated lifetime risk of being diagnosed with vaginal cancer is 1 in 1,421 (less than 1%) for females born after 1960 in the UK.[1]

These figures have been calculated on the assumption that the possibility of having more than one diagnosis of vaginal cancer over the course of a lifetime is very low (‘Current Probability’ method).[2

References

  1. Lifetime risk estimates calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK. Based on cancer incidence and mortality data provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), ISD Scotland, the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit and the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, on request, October 2016 to October 2017, and ONS 2016-based Life expectancies and population projections. Accessed December 2017.
  2. Esteve J, Benhamou E and Raymond L. Descriptive epidemiology. IARC Scientific Publications No.128, Lyon, International Agency for Research on Cancer, pp 67-68 1994. 

About this data

Data is for UK, cancer incidence and mortality rates for 2015, and past and projected all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961, ICD-10 C52.

The calculations used cancer incidence and mortality rates for 2015, and past and projected all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961 to project risk over the lifetime of those born in 1961 (mixed period-cohort method).[1] Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment.

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75% of vaginal cancer cases in the UK are preventable.[1]

Vaginal cancer risk is associated with a number of risk factors.[2,3]

Vaginal Cancer Risk Factors

  Increases risk Decreases risk
'Sufficient' or 'convincing' evidence
  • Diethylstilbestrol (exposure in utero)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16
 
'Limited' or 'probable' evidence
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1
 

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classification. World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) classification does not include vaginal cancer because it is not generally recognised to have a relationship to food, nutrition, and physical activity.

References

  1. Brown KF, Rumgay H, Dunlop C, et al. The fraction of cancer attributable to known risk factors in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the UK overall in 2015. British Journal of Cancer 2018. 
  2. International Agency for Research on Cancer. List of Classifications by cancer sites with sufficient or limited evidence in humans, Volumes 1 to 122*. Accessed October 2018.
  3. World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Findings & Reports. Accessed October 2018.
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International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the role of this risk factor in cancer development.[1] 75% of vaginal cancer cases in the UK are caused by HPV infection.[2]

Vaginal cancer risk is 5 times higher in women with HPV16 antibodies versus those without, a case-control study showed.[3] HPV16 is present in 59% of vaginal cancers, a cross-sectional study showed.[4]

UK portrait version shown here. Country versions, cancers caused by other risk factors, and landscape formats are available for free from our cancer risk publications.

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International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the role of this risk factor in cancer development.[1]

People with HIV infection often also have human papillomavirus (HPV), and HIV may facilitate initiation or persistence of HPV infection; HIV-related UK vaginal cancer cases are included in the HPV-attributable proportion above.[2,3]

Vaginal cancer risk is 9 times higher in women with HIV compared with the general population, a meta-analysis has shown.[4]

Some studies show a particularly strong relationship for women under 30 years old.[5,6]

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International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the role of this risk factor in cancer development.[1]

Vaginal clear cell adenocarcinoma (a rare subtype) risk is higher in women whose mothers took DES during pregnancy, cohort studies have shown.[2,3]

References

  1. International Agency for Research on Cancer. List of Classifications by cancer sites with sufficient or limited evidence in humans, Volumes 1 to 122*. Accessed October 2018.
  2. Troisi R, Hatch EE, Titus-Ernstoff L, et al. Cancer risk in women prenatally exposed to diethylstilbestrol. Int J Cancer 2007;121(2):356-60.
  3. Verloop J, van Leeuwen FE, Helmerhorst TJ, et al. Cancer risk in DES daughters. Cancer Causes Control 2010;21(7):999-1007.
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