Stages of vaginal cancer & its treatment

The treatment of vaginal cancer depends on its type and stage. Any gynae oncologist in Kolkata examines how far cancer has spread apart from checking your overall health condition. In this blog, you will be able to learn various stages of vaginal cancer along with the treatment procedure. 

Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN) and its treatment

Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia is a pre-cancerous change in vaginal cells. In most cases, a low-grade VAIN (or VAIN 1) goes away on its own. Hence, every gynecologic oncologist in Kolkata chooses to monitor the pre-cancerous change closely before starting the treatment. After getting Pap tests, often with colposcopy every month, if the area of VAIN doesn’t disappear on its own, it requires treatment. 

VAIN is usually treated with topical therapy (like imiquimod or 5-FU) or laser treatment. Sometimes surgical treatment is used to remove the lesion (the area of abnormal cells). Surgical procedures include a wide local excision to remove abnormal cells on the edge of surrounding normal tissue. In order to remove a part of the vagina, a partial vaginectomy is rarely used for the treatment of VAIN. 

Stage 0 vaginal cancer & its treatment- Explained by a gynae oncologist

The usual options to treat vaginal cancer at stage 0 include local excision, intracavitary radiation (brachytherapy) or laser vaporisation. Apart from this, topical therapy with imiquimod or 5-FU cream is another option for vaginal cancer treatment, but it can take at least ten weeks. In case of metastasis, partial vaginectomy might be required. 

Stage I vaginal cancer treatment- Explained by a gynae oncologist.

In the case of stage 1 vaginal cancer or squamous cell cancers, radiation therapy is mainly used. If the cancer is less than 5 mm thick, intracavitary radiation may be used. Interstitial radiation is another option to treat some tumours, which is not used very often. In the case of tumours which have grown deeper, intracavitary radiation can be combined with external beam radiation. 

Stage II vaginal cancer treatment 

The usual treatment for stage II vaginal cancer is external beam radiation and brachytherapy. Every gynae cancer surgeon in Kolkata often performs radical surgery (either radical vaginectomy or pelvic exenteration) if the squamous cells are small and located in the upper vagina. Radiation might be given after surgical treatment. If the tumour is located in the lower third of the vagina, external radiation can be used for the treatment of lymph nodes in the pelvis. 

Treatment of Stage III or IVA vaginal cancer

A gynae oncologist often uses radiation therapy by combining both external beam radiation and brachytherapy. Chemotherapy might also be combined with radiation to get a better result. In this stage of vaginal cancer, surgery is rarely used. 

Stage IVB treatment of Vaginal cancer

Stage IVB vaginal cancer can’t be cured completely. Radiation therapy might be used on the pelvis and vagina to reduce bleeding and ease symptoms. Chemotherapy might also be combined with radiation to help women live longer. 
These are the stages of vaginal cancer that can be treated by a gynae oncologist based on the current condition of the patient.