Vaginal cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the vagina, the canal leading from the opening of the uterus (the cervix), to the outside of a woman's body. It is not a common cancer. The most common type of vaginal cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which forms in the thin, flat cells that line the vagina. It spreads slowly and usually stays where it is, but it sometimes can spread to the lungs, liver or bones. A person's age and being exposed to DES – a drug given to some pregnant women to prevent miscarriage in the 1950s – are the main risk factors.
At the UAB Medicine Women’s Cancer Program, you receive care in the most advanced facilities from board-certified gynecologic oncologists trained in surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Our experts design customized treatment plans for each patient’s individual needs and use the latest technology to screen for and treat all types of women’s reproductive cancers.
Mindful of the stress that comes with a potential cancer diagnosis, we are committed to rapid evaluation of suspected gynecologic malignancies. We pledge to see you within 72 hours of being called and commit to implementing a surgical and treatment plan within a week after that initial visit.
Your physicians at UAB Medicine are national and international leaders in gynecologic cancer and treat more gynecologic cancer patients in Alabama than any other group. Our modern clinical facilities include an embedded chemo-infusion unit. You will have access to the full range of the latest minimally invasive and open surgical techniques, including robotic surgery and complex radical surgery.
UAB Medicine is nationally renowned for our care of patients with women’s cancers. We have been recognized as one of the leading gynecologic oncology research divisions in the world and were one of five institutions to be awarded a Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in ovarian cancer by the NIH. We currently partner with Johns Hopkins University in a cervical cancer SPORE. We are dedicated to improving treatments and ultimately finding a cure for these cancers.
Our physicians have access to a large portfolio of clinical trials, which gives many patients the opportunity to receive pioneering treatments not available at other medical centers. Through our Lynne Cohen Preventive Care Program for Women's Cancer, we also offer comprehensive risk assessments and prevention strategies for breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer, arming women with knowledge to make informed decisions about their cancer risk and care.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of vaginal cancer. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials