Vaginal Cancer Surgery

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Vaginal cancer surgery is usually only recommended for the benign or localized cancer. Although, this is not the only option available, however, need for surgery would depend on the location, size and extent of the cancerous cells in the vagina. Vaginal cancer developing without providing any clear symptoms of vaginal cancer until it becomes obvious with some abnormal changes taking place in the vagina of the woman. Such indications include vaginal bleeding other than menstrual fluid, vaginal lump and pain. The woman shouldn't take it lightly and immediately report this to a good doctor.

Early the detection better would be the prognosis of vaginal cancer patient as chances of complete recovery in the benign stage is high. Benign cancer is less dangerous as it has still not grown enough to create havoc in the patient's life, however, if the patient neglects or ignores the early signs it might land her in deep trouble. Over a period of time this cancer grows and begins to spread to other areas of the body affecting the vital organs in a severely negative way. A wide spread cancer is more difficult to contain than the localized cancer.

Usually, a surgery is done to remove the entire tumor from the body which would save the other body parts from getting affected by it. The tumor removed from the body is examined under a microscope to check for any possible presence of cancerous cells in the vaginal tissues.

In case of vaginal cancer there are various types of surgery that is applied as per need, situation and condition of the patient. These are mentioned as below:

  • Laser surgery: In laser surgery a narrow but powerful beam of light is applied at the suspected tumor to kill off the cancerous cells.

  • Vaginectomy: This type of surgery can be classified as total veginectomy wherein the entire vagina is removed through surgery and partial veginectomy which is done to remove only a part of the vagina.

  • Local excision: The doctor may go ahead with the surgery to remove localized tumor along with some surrounding vaginal tissues. This is then examined under a microscope to look for presence of cancerous cells

  • Hysterectomy: This is a type of surgery wherein uterus and cervix are also removed in order to get rid of the vaginal cancer. This operation is known as hysterectomy

  • Trachelectomy: In some patients vaginal cancer is found near the cervix which is upper part of the vagina. In such cases the physician might have to remove the cervix in order to make sure the cancer has been done away with. The operation is called a Trachelectomy when leaving the uterus only the cervix is removed through surgery

  • Lymphadenectomy: To check for any possible presence of cancerous cells in the vagina lymph nodes from near the vagina and from groin area are sometimes removed, it is called lymphadenectomy

  • Vaginal reconstruction: Vaginal reconstruction is done in case the need arises to remove part or entire vagina to prevent the cancer from spreading. In such case the vagina is reconstructed surgically using the skin from other parts of the body. The doctor tries to recreate a vagina that would function as normally as the natural one

  • Pelvic exenteration: Pelvic exenteration is made use of, if and when the vaginal cancer reoccurrence takes place. Usually, radiation therapy is what is applied to cure the vaginal cancer. However, if that doesn't prove enough, pelvic exenteration might be the order of the day. It's a type of operation that combines lymphadenectomy, vaginectomy etc in order to remove the vaginal cancer

  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy kills off the cancerous cells using high energy x-ray beams. This high energy ray is aimed at the cancerous cells inside the vagina. Radiation therapy can be applied both before and after having been gone through the surgery

Vaginal cancer surgery could probably be the most traumatic experience for any woman as it's one of the most intimate parts of the body. Any woman would wish this doesn't happen to her. But in order to get cured or to have better prognosis one has to endure this for her own good. In the long run it would look like only a small price that one has to pay for her dear life. Depending upon individual condition surgery would also vary from person to person. In case of a benign cancer only a small surgery would be required while in case of malignant cancer, it's difficult to contain it as it has already spread and begun to affect other areas of the body beyond its original place. Hence, a patient with malignant cancer might have to go through a major surgery. In some extreme cases even the affected limb could also be removed so as to stop the cancer from spreading all over the body. Whatever, the case may be the patient should remain calm and agree to surgery as this is done by a team of experts. Moreover, this is what could bring a difference between death and life

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