How Is Vaginal Cancer Diagnosed?


If you are presenting with symptoms of vaginal cancer, your doctor will discuss your symptoms and medical history with you before performing a pelvic examination and pap smear. These exams may also be performed at a routine checkup.

If your doctor finds something suspicious, they will move on to additional tests to diagnose vaginal cancer. These tests may include:

  • Vaginoscopy. During this test, your physician will examine the cells of your vagina using an instrument called a colposcope. This tool magnifies the image of the cells so your doctor can see them clearly.
  • Biopsy. If your doctor spots something abnormal during a test, they will order a biopsy of the area. A pathologist will examine a piece of tissue removed from the suspicious area under a microscope and determine if cancer is present.
  • Imaging Tests. MRIs, X-rays, or ultrasounds may be used after vaginal cancer is diagnosed so your doctor can learn more about the disease’s progress and the size of the tumor.

How Is Vaginal Cancer Treated?


Treatment options for vaginal cancer depend on the type of cell the cancer developed in, the stage of the disease, and future fertility goals. Surgery is the most common vaginal cancer treatment, and there are several types of surgery that may be used.

  • Laser surgery. If someone has pre-cancerous cells on the surface of the vagina, they may be eligible for laser surgery to “burn” the cancer cells.
  • Vaginectomy. If a tumor has grown more deeply into the vaginal wall, patients may have a vaginectomy to remove all or part of the vagina.
  • Hysterectomy. Patients with more advanced vaginal cancer may need to have the vagina and the entire body of the uterus removed.
  • Robotic vaginal cancer surgery. Surgeons may be able to use robotic surgery to remove the cancer or, in some cases, the uterus. With this vaginal cancer treatment, patients will have smaller incisions, less postoperative discomfort, and a quicker recovery than with traditional open abdominal surgery.

If your cancer is more advanced, additional vaginal cancer treatments including radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be required.

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Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Vaginal Cancer Treatment

With the knowledge and insight that comes with extensive experience, the gynecological cancer experts at NewYork-Presbyterian understand your symptoms. We will craft a unique and comprehensive treatment plan that addresses your concerns and lifestyle, and ensure you remain informed and empowered throughout your care.