Vaginal Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment - A Detailed Guide

Vaginal cancer diagnosis and treatment demand a comprehensive approach, wherein various tests are recommended to diagnose vaginal cancer accurately before recommending a personalized treatment plan. Managing vaginal cancers through personalized treatment plans positively impacts treatment results, survival rates, and the quality of life after the treatment.

Procedures or Tests for Vaginal Cancer Diagnosis

Vaginal cancer causes various symptoms; it is important to see a specialist when these symptoms are persistent. The diagnosis begins with a physical examination, which is then followed by a battery of tests for a conclusive diagnosis. The following are the different tests recommended for vaginal cancer diagnosis:

What are Effective Vaginal Cancer Treatments?

Personalized vaginal cancer treatment is planned once the diagnosis and stage of vaginal cancer are confirmed. Specialists also consider parameters like the patient’s age, overall health status, underlying medical conditions, and preferences while devising a treatment plan. The following are the different vaginal cancer treatment options available:


Surgery is one of the most common vaginal cancer treatments. In the early stages, especially when the disease is in a precancerous state, surgery is often recommended as a cure for vaginal cancer. Depending on the stage, vaginal cancer treatment may be unimodal (one treatment) or multimodal (a combination of different treatments). Surgery is often combined with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and other treatments for better outcomes.

Surgery for vaginal cancer involves the removal of the abnormal tissues of the vagina, the vagina itself, and surrounding tissues of the vagina, depending on the stage of the disease.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy for vaginal cancer uses high-energy, ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells. It is usually combined with surgery or chemotherapy for better treatment results. There are two types of radiation therapy, i.e., external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy. Usually, a combination of both types is used. Brachytherapy may be administered at a low dose rate or a high dose rate, depending on the extent of the cancer.


Chemotherapy for vaginal cancer involves the administration of anti-cancer drugs to kill the cancer cells by interfering with vital steps of their cell cycle. It is a commonly recommended treatment for metastatic vaginal cancer and is generally combined with surgery and radiation therapy. The drugs are administered orally, topically, or through injection. When used before surgery, it shrinks the tumor. It may also be used after the surgery to kill the residual cancer cells.

Targeted Therapy

There are several vital proteins and enzymes present in cancer cells that assist them in growth and proliferation. As one of the latest vaginal cancer treatments, targeted therapy interferes with the functioning of these substances and prevents the division, growth, and proliferation of cancer cells.


The immune system is the main protective barrier to cancer, as it identifies and kills abnormal cells in the body. However, cancer cells have certain molecular mechanisms that help them hide from the immune system. Immunotherapy drugs interfere with these mechanisms and make cancer cells more vulnerable to the attacks launched by the immune system. Further, immunotherapy drugs also strengthen the immune system.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is recommended for patients with terminal vaginal cancer. The goal of palliative care is to manage the symptoms and discomfort caused by the disease and improve the quality of life. Palliative care may involve the administration of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The palliative care team comprises oncologists, physicians, nurses, and other experienced and trained professionals.

Why Choose HCG for Vaginal Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment?

As a leading cancer treatment hospital in India, HCG Cancer Hospital has a dedicated department for the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and management of vaginal cancer. The hospital is equipped with all the testing facilities under a single roof for the timely diagnosis of vaginal cancer. The operation theater is equipped with advanced facilities to perform complex surgeries to treat vaginal cancer. The multidisciplinary team at HCG comprises medical oncologists, oncology surgeons, gynecologists, radiation therapists, experienced nurses, and paramedical staff, and these specialists carefully go through each case before recommending a treatment plan.


Vaginal cancer diagnosis is done through several methods, such as physical examination and medical history assessment, Pap smear test, CT scan, transvaginal ultrasound, PET scan, MRI, biopsy, and colposcopy. Vaginal cancer treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and palliative care. Surgery for vaginal cancer includes laser surgery, vaginectomy, wide local excision, and pelvic exenteration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Although blood tests do not detect vaginal cancer, they may provide vital information about the overall health status of the patient. Blood tests are often written along with other tests in order to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis.

Vaginal cancer may occur at any age. However, younger women are relatively at lower risk compared to elderly women for developing vaginal cancer.

Like other types of cancer, vaginal cancer may also recur. However, the risk of recurrence depends upon various factors, such as the stage at which vaginal cancer was diagnosed the first time, the treatment recommended, the treatment response shown by the patient, and the presence of underlying conditions, such as HPV.

The symptoms of vaginal cancer are very similar to those of general gynecological conditions. When symptoms like abnormal vaginal discharge, vaginal pain and discomfort, vaginal bleeding, and pelvic pain are persistently experienced, it is important to see a doctor, as these could be signs of vaginal cancer.

A biopsy is usually considered the confirmatory test for vaginal cancer.