Vaginal cancer treatment and causes

Last Modified: March 31, 2003

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
A friend of mine found out she has vaginal cancer. What is the best treatment today for this? Can this be related to her tonsil cancer from a few years ago? 


Stephen C. Rubin, MD, Professor and Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

Vaginal cancer is one of the least common gynecologic malignancies. The treatment for the cancer will depend on the stage and the location of the tumor. For very early, pre-invasive cancers, laser treatment or simple removal of the involved tissue may suffice. For more advanced cancers, radical surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy could be indicated.

There is no direct relationship to cancer of the tonsils, but the conditions may share some of the same risk factors, including infection with the human papilloma virus, and smoking.

ACOG recommends cytology screening start at age 21 regardless of the onset of sexual activity

Jul 23, 2010 - Although prior recommendations of major societies advised cervical cytology screening in adolescents based on onset of vaginal intercourse, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends that screening begin at age 21, regardless of sexual activity, due to the rarity of cervical cancer in women under 21. These recommendations have been published in the August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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