Cancer - Oncology

Vaginal Cancer Treatments

When you have a diagnosis of vaginal cancer, you will want to treatment by a gynecologic oncologist. Our specialists have the ideal training for treating cancers of the female reproductive system. For vaginal cancer, your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan that may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments.

Surgery for Vaginal Cancer

Surgery can be used to treat early vaginal cancer, including the following surgical procedures:

  • Laser surgery—uses a laser beam (a narrow beam of intense light) as a knife to make bloodless cuts in tissue or to remove the cancerous tissues or tumor.
  • Wide local excision—takes out the cancer and some of the healthy tissue around it
  • Vaginectomy—removes all or part of the vagina
  • Total hysterectomy—remove the uterus and cervix to be performed along with vaginectomy

Non-surgical Treatment for Vaginal Cancer

Either before or after surgery, your treatment plan may include other non-surgical treatments to eliminate or reduce the size of cancer cells, such as:

  • Radiation—uses high energy X-rays to kill cancer cells
    • External radiation is delivered from outside to shrink the tumors to make surgery easier
    • Internal radiation places the radiation inside the body in a cylinder-shaped container that stays in the vagina for one or two days (LDR brachytherapy) during a hospital stay. Another type of internal radiation treatment is three or four outpatient treatments done weekly or biweekly.
  • Chemotherapy—uses anti-cancer medications. You may take these drugs by mouth, intravenously, or rubbed on your skin. Either way, the body absorbs medication to treat the vaginal cancer.

Ask your gynecologic oncologist about benefits and side effects of each type of treatment.

Knowledge is empowering. Learn about other gynecologic cancers.