Vaginal Cancer is treated within the GW Cancer Center’s Gynecological Oncology Program. Vaginal cancer is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the vagina, the muscular tube that connects the uterus with the outer genitals. Vaginal cancer most commonly occurs in the cells that line the surface of the vagina.
- The two main types of vaginal cancer include squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that forms in the cells lining the inside of the vagina), and adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in glandular cells).
- While vaginal cancer often does not cause early signs or symptoms, some symptoms can include abnormal bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, pain the pelvic area, a lump in the vagina, pain during urination or constipation.
- Some risk factors for vaginal cancer can include older age (over 60), being exposed to DES in the womb, having human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, having a history of abnormal cells in the cervix or uterus, or having a hysterectomy for health problems related to the uterus.
- Standard treatment for vaginal cancer can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of different approaches.
Vaginal Cancer is treated within the GW Gynecological Oncology Program
- A Team Approach to Treating Gynecological Cancers
The GW Cancer Center's Gynecological Oncology Program provides holistic and individualized care for patients with gynecological cancers. Our highly skilled multidisciplinary team includes doctors and experts from many disciplines, including gynecological oncology, medical oncology, radiology, pathology, radiation oncology, genetic counseling and nutrition. We offer the most advanced treatment options for gynecological cancers, including minimally invasive cancer surgery and fertility-sparing approaches, chemotherapy, radiation and biologic/targeted agents.
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Gynecological Oncology Program Information
The GW Cancer Center's Gynecological Oncology program oversees the care of patients with all types of gynecological cancer, as well as patients with pre-invasive diseases of the cervix, vulva or vagina; elevated tumor markers that warrant further diagnostic testing; or multiple risk factors, including a personal or family history of gynecological cancer, that merit risk counseling and screening services.
Patients treated at the GW Cancer Center not only have access to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but also to cutting edge immunotherapies and minimally invasive surgery performed with robotic systems like the da Vinci Robot. Our radiation oncology team specializes in treating gynecological cancers, so patients have access to a highly experienced and skilled team of experts. We also offer specialty services like our high risk genetic counseling for hereditary ovarian and endometrial cancer cases, patient navigators and social workers to help coordinate care.
We offer personalized care for every patient and treatment plans tailored to individual needs. We also work closely with referring physicians to provide the best possible care for our patients.
Our personalized and multidisciplinary approach allows patients to have access to a wide variety of physicians during their visit, including:
- Skilled pathologists assist with diagnosis and interpretation of test results
- Surgical oncologists can evaluate and remove tumors, often using minimally invasive laproscopic and robotic techniques
- Radiation oncologists who specialize in gynecological cancers can help deliver a treatment plan tailored to each patient
- Medical oncologists can provide cutting edge treatments like intraperitoneal chemotherapy
- Genetic counselors help patients understand and manage their risk for cancer
Our program also provides patients with access to specialized care for the skin-related side effects of treatment through our Supportive Oncodermatology Clinic, the first of its kind in the region.
Approach to Treatment
You will be cared for by a comprehensive team that combines leading experts with the latest technological and research advances. Our multidisciplinary team works together to create a personalized treatment plan that supports all of your medical, nutritional and emotional needs. At the GW Cancer Center's Gynecological Oncology Program, you will have access to:
- A multidisciplinary treatment team of world-renowned experts in gynecological oncology, surgical oncology, reconstructive and plastic surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology and radiology
- Specialized providers who provide chemotherapy in addition to surgical options
- A radiation oncology team that specializes in treating gynecological cancers
- Supportive care professionals like nutritionists, patient navigators, social workers and genetic counselors can help overcome barriers to care
- Advanced radiation oncology techniques including external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and bracytherapy, which delivers radiation directly to a specific area of the body, sparing healthy tissue
- Genetic counselors from the Ruth Paul Hereditary Cancer Clinic who can help patients understand and manage their risk of cancer by providing hereditary cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling and preventive care for high risk individuals
Gynecological Cancer Information for Patients
The GW Cancer Center offers screening and treatment for all forms of gynecological cancers, including:
Research and Clinical Trials
The GW Cancer Center offers a variety of clinical trials across different clinical programs. For more information about enrolling in a clinical trial or tumor sample collection study, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
The GW Cancer Center provides patients with access to the latest technology in gynecological cancers, including:
- The daVinci Robotic Surgical System to perform robotic gynecological surgeries for endometriosis, hysterectomy and myomectomy. Benefits of robotic surgery include fewer complications, less pain and scarring, shorter hospital stays and faster recoveries.
- Robotic-assisted lymphadenectomy
- Debulking/radical surgeries
Gynecological Oncology in the News
- Researchers Identify Protein Governing Platinum Resistant Ovarian Cancer (August 2019)
- GW Cancer Researcher Awarded Grant from the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation to Better Understand Cancer Progression and the Identification of Novel Cancer Therapeutic Targets (August 2018)
Page last updated: September 2019