Vaginal cancer is uncommon, making up just 1–2% of malignancies of the female genital tract. However, a person’s risk of developing vaginal cancer appears to increase with age.
The above statistic comes from the
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Primary vaginal cancer starts in the cells of the vagina, which is the muscular canal that connects the uterus to the outside of the body.
There are several different types of vaginal cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and sarcoma.
Adenocarcinoma, which starts in glandular cells in the lining of the vagina, is less common. A melanoma is another rare form of cancer that starts in the cells that give the skin its color, but they also form in the vagina or other organs. Fewer than three of every 100 cases of vaginal cancer are melanomas.
Sarcoma, which starts in the muscle or connective tissue of the vagina, is the rarest type.
Other types of cancer may spread to the vagina. This is called vaginal metastasis, which is not the same as primary vaginal cancer.
This article will discuss how common vaginal cancer is according to age and race.
Vaginal cancer is a rare type of cancer, accounting for
In 2022, there were an
However, it is important to note that early detection and timely treatment are key to improving outcomes for people with vaginal cancer.
The incidence of vaginal cancer increases with age, with the median age of diagnosis being
The following numbers, which come from
Vaginal cancer is more common in non-Hispanic Black people than in people of other races, although the overall incidence is low for all racial and ethnic groups.
The following numbers, which derive from
|Hispanic, any race||0.64|
|non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native||0.00|
|non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander||0.37|
The reasons for these disparities are complex and multifactorial. Some possible factors that may
- access to healthcare
- socioeconomic status
- exposure to risk factors such as smoking and HPV infection
- genetic and biological factors
For example, Black people are
Addressing these disparities requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both individual and systemic factors that contribute to health inequities.
A risk factor is something that affects a person’s likelihood of developing a condition.
It is important to remember that having one or more risk factors does not mean that a person will definitely develop the condition.
Doctors do not know the exact cause of vaginal cancer. However, several risk factors can increase a person’s risk of developing the condition. These
- Age: Doctors most commonly diagnose vaginal cancer in people aged 70 and over.
- HPV infection: Certain types of HPV can increase the risk of vaginal cancer.
- Smoking: People who smoke are more likely to develop vaginal cancer.
- History of cervical cancer: People with cervical cancer or atypical Pap tests have an
increasedrisk of vaginal cancer.
Symptoms of vaginal cancer can include:
- atypical vaginal bleeding
- pain during intercourse
- vaginal discharge, and a lump or mass in the vagina
However, these symptoms can also be due to other conditions. It is important to contact a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Vaginal cancer is rare and appears to account for less than 2% of malignancies of the female genital tract.
A person’s risk of developing vaginal cancer seems to increase with age. Other risk factors include having HPV, smoking, and having a history of cervical cancer.
However, due to the increase in Pap smears and HPV vaccines, the incidence of vaginal cancer appears to be decreasing.