Primary vaginal cancers are rare, constituting less than 2% of all gynecologic malignancies. Carcinoma of the vagina is defined as a primary carcinoma arising in the vagina and not involving the external os of the cervix superiorly or the vulva inferiorly.
Vaginal cancer is rare and accounts for only about 3% of cancers of the female reproductive system. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2005, about 2,140 new cases of vaginal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 810 women will die of this cancer.
The most common symptom of vaginal carcinoma is abnormal bleeding or discharge. With advanced tumors, pain or urinary frequency occasionally occurs, especially in cases of anterior wall tumors. Constipation or tenesmus has been seen with tumors involving the posterior vaginal wall. These tumors usually are diagnosed by direct biopsy of the tumor mass, and abnormal cytologic findings often will lead to diagnosis of a vaginal cancer.
The staging criteria for vaginal carcinomas according to the FIGO are given in
Woodruff JD, Genadry R, Poliakoff S. Treatment of dyspareunia and vaginal outlet distortions by perineoplasty. Obstet Gynecol 1981;57:750.
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