To speak to a specialist cancer nurse,
freefone the National Cancer Helpline
1800 200 700
Mon—Thurs 9am—7pm Fri 9am—5pm
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer of the vagina, we can provide the information you need, from understanding the cancer itself, to choosing the right treatment, to finding support.
Cancer of the vagina is also known as vaginal cancer.
The vagina is part of the female reproductive system. It is a muscular tube about 10cm long. It is the passage between the opening of the womb (cervix) and the vulva. The vulva is the folds of skin around the vagina. The vagina has many functions. It opens and expands during sex, it is the birth canal, and it drains blood during a monthly period.
The wall or lining of the vagina has different types of tissue layers. For example, epithelial tissue layer and connective tissue layer. There are also lymph nodes around the vagina to help fight infection.
Cancer of the vagina is when normal cells in the vagina change and grow in an abnormal way. These cells can form a malignant tumour. Cancer of the vagina is also called vaginal cancer. When cancer cells develop in the vagina itself, it is called primary vaginal cancer. When cancer has spread into the vagina from another part of your body, it is called secondary vaginal cancer. For example, cancer can spread to the vagina from the neck of the womb (cervix) or the lining of the womb.
There are several types of primary vaginal cancer. Each type is named after the kind of tissue where the cancer cells grow:
Other rare types include:
Vaginal cancer is very rare. In Ireland, about 16 women are diagnosed with it each year. It is most common in women over the age of 60.
For booklets and factsheets, including information about cancer types, treatments, side-effects, emotional effects, financial information and more. Visit our publications section.
Freephone 1800 200 700 to talk to a specialist cancer nurse
It's open Monday-Thursday from 9am to 7pm and Friday from 9am to 5pm
National Cancer Helpline
Freefone 1 800 200 700
Talk to a specialist nurse
Have you used the Irish Cancer Society's cancer information services by phone, Daffodil Centre, email, social media or this website? A UCD research team is helping us to evaluate so that we can improve those services.