What are the treatment options?
Vaginal cancer can be treated and is often cured. It is easiest to treat if it is located only on the vagina and has not spread to any other areas of the body.
Vaginal cancer is often treated with surgery to remove the cancer. Surgery will remove the cancer and a small amount of healthy tissue around the cancer. The least invasive surgeries are possible in cases where there is evidence of minimal disease. Surgery can also include removal of lymph nodes to check for signs of cancer, or, in cases where the cancer has advanced throughout the reproductive system, removal of all or parts of other reproductive organs such as the ovaries, cervix, and uterus.
Vaginal cancer is also treated with radiation or chemotherapy, or both, to kill cancer cells and prevent them from spreading. Depending on the stage of the cancer, radiation can be administered externally, using a machine outside the body, or internally, by temporarily loading an intravaginal device with a form of radiation. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs are injected into a vein, in which case they travel through the bloodstream and can affect cancer anywhere in the body.