Vaginal Cancer Causes

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Vaginal cancer causes are yet not fully known. However, it develops in the vagina of a woman when the normal cells divide and keep growing and thus forming a mass. This formation of mass is identified as tumor. So, clearly it is a type of cancer that affects only the women. In vaginal cancer the cancerous cells develop in the vagina of a woman. The vagina is also known as birth canal through which a baby passes out of the body. A vagina is 3 to 4 inches in size and leads from cervix to outer side of the body. Vaginal cancer is a very rare type of cancer and hardly found.

However, if symptoms are detected early this might as well be curable. A cancer in the vagina detected early can be called a benign cancer. A benign cancer is always in its early stages and most likely has not spread to other parts beyond its place of origin. At benign stage things have yet not become complicated. On the other hand presence of malignant cancer cells indicates an advanced stage of vaginal cancer. At this stage the tumor is most likely to have grown and spread to other areas of the body and affecting them in the process as well.

The cancerous cells if not diagnosed early just keep on dividing and multiplying in number. This travels all over the body and affects the parts coming in touch with it. According to the extent to which the cancer has spread the patient might be categorized into any of the following types of vaginal cancer:

  1. Adenocarcinoma: This type of vaginal cancer mostly affects the women in the age bracket of 30 and below. This kind is also more likely to invade to lymph nodes and lung and create major health risks

  2. Squamous cell carcinoma: This type of vaginal cancer is most commonly found and account for about 85 to 90% of vaginal cancer. Mostly women in the age group of 50 to 70 fall prey to it

  3. Melanoma: This type of vaginal cancer mostly appears on the outer or lower skin of the vagina

  4. Malignant Melanomas Sarcoma: This is a very rare type of vaginal cancer and is distinctly found

The scientists are doing research to find out vaginal cancer causes and the exact reason is yet unknown. However, there are other factors that lead to the possibility of catching vaginal cancer. These are as given below:

  • Age: Age could be a factor to getting vaginal cancer. Women in the age group of 12 to 30 and 50 to 70 are more prone to it.

  • Exposure to DES: DES or diethylstilbestrol was prescribed to the expectant mothers during the year 1940 to 1971. It is a kind of hormonal drug that was given with the intention of curbing miscarriages. So, the women who were exposed to diethylstilbestrol while still in the mother's womb are at more risk of developing vaginal cancer later on in life

  • Past history of cancer: A woman who has had other type of cancer in the past is more likely to catch vaginal cancer. Woman with a past history of cervical cancer would run a higher risk of getting affected with vaginal cancer

  • Smoking: It is found that women who smoke land themselves at a risk of getting vaginal cancer

  • HPV Virus: Any women earlier infected with Human Papilloma virus is also at risk of getting vaginal cancer. HPV is a viral infection that spreads through sexual contact

  • Pessary use: A pessary is a device to keep the uterus from falling. The women who are experiencing long term irritation post pessary use might run the risk of getting vaginal cancer

  • Melanoma: This type of cancer appears dark in color and develops on the skin of the vagina

  • Hysterectomy: This refers to the removal of uterus or a part of it. Women who have undergone such surgery are also at risk of developing this type of cancer

  • Exposure to Radiation therapy: Most of the women who due to some reason or the other have had radiation therapy in the vaginal area in the past also run the risk of developing vaginal cancer later on in life

The points above are the factors that make a woman prone to getting vaginal cancer. However, research is on as to find out the precise vaginal cancer causes. A person with several risk factors might not catch the disease while a woman with no such risk factors at all might also be diagnosed with vaginal cancer. A breakthrough in the ongoing investigation by scientists is expected to pave the way for better diagnosis and treatment options. It would give the patient more reason to remain hopeful. Advanced drugs and improved treatment would mean better survival chances for the patient.

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