Vaginal Cancer: Symptoms, Signs and Causes

Vaginal cancer symptoms may vary from one patient to another. The commonly observed symptoms include abnormal bleeding and discharge, pain and discomfort, rectal bleeding, problems related to urination, the presence of a lump, and unintended weight loss.

The exact cause of vaginal cancer is unknown. However, certain risk factors or possible vaginal cancer causes have been identified, and being associated with these factors can increase one’s vaginal cancer risk.

Who is Mainly Affected by Vaginal Cancer?

Vaginal cancer may occur in any woman. However, certain individuals have a higher chance of developing this cancer. Elderly women, women who smoke, or women who are prenatally exposed to diethylstilbestrol are more vulnerable to vaginal cancer. The risk of vaginal cancer is also high in women with a family or personal history of vaginal cancer, a history of human papillomavirus infection, a history of abnormal cervical cells, or a history of radiation exposure. Women with compromised immunity are also at risk for vaginal cancer.

What are the Common Symptoms and Signs of Vaginal Cancer?

Some of the common vaginal cancer symptoms are:

Vaginal Cancer Type & Its Symptoms

Vaginal cancer types and their symptoms are:

What are the Causes of Vaginal Cancer?

Patients often wonder, “What causes vaginal cancer?”. The exact cause of vaginal cancer is unknown. However, we do know that certain individuals have a higher risk due to the presence of certain factors. These factors could be called risk factors or possible causes. The following are identified as possible vaginal cancer causes:

When to see a Gynecologic Oncologist?

Several symptoms of vaginal cancer overlap with those of other gynecological conditions. One must consult a gynecologist if they start experiencing abnormal vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, pelvic or low back pain, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, and pain during or after sexual intercourse.


Commonly observed vaginal cancer symptoms include palpable vaginal mass, abnormal vaginal bleeding, constipation, pelvic pain, low back pain, fatigue, weight loss, and loss of appetite. The possible causes of vaginal cancers are increasing age, history of vaginal cancer or other gynecological cancer, radiation therapy, HPV infection, smoking, and exposure to diethylstilbestrol.

Frequently Asked Questions

Women who are > 60 years of age, exposed prenatally to diethylstilbestrol, smoke, and have compromised immune systems are at risk for developing vaginal cancer.

HPV infection is an important risk factor for vaginal cancer. Approximately 70% of all cases of vaginal cancer are attributed to human papillomavirus infection.

Early vaginal cancer symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding, bleeding between menstrual cycles, pelvic pain, and vaginal discharge.

It is difficult to notice vaginal cancer as several of its symptoms overlap with various gynecological conditions. No gynecological symptoms should be ignored, especially if they are persistent. One must promptly consult a gynecologist if something alarming is observed.

In the early stages of vaginal cancer, the pain may be absent or mild, if present. The severity of pain increases as the disease progresses.