Senior woman

Vaginal cancer

Vaginal cancer is rare - about 15 people in Ireland are diagnosed with it each year.

Vaginal cancer can happen at any age. It is more common in people aged 50-70. 

On this page:

What is vaginal cancer?

Vaginal cancer is a rare cancer of the female reproductive system. 

Vaginal cancer is when normal cells in the vagina change and grow in an abnormal way. These cells can form a malignant (cancerous) tumour.  

What is the vagina and what does it do?

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 most outer part of the female reproductive system located at the opening of the vagina. 

The vagina has many functions. It opens and expands during the birth of a baby, and it drains blood during a monthly period.

The wall or lining of the vagina is made up of many layers. For example, an epithelial tissue layer making up the lining of the vagina and a connective tissue layer making up the walls of the vagina that also include muscle, lymph nodes and nerves. The lymph nodes help to fight infection. There are also glands near the entrance of the vagina which produce a mucus. This keeps the vagina moist and acts as a lubricant during sex.


We use the term ‘woman / women’ in our vaginal cancer information but we understand that not everyone who has a vagina identifies as a woman.

Whoever you are, wherever you come from, we are here for you. For confidential advice, information and support, contact our Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700.

More information about treatment for vaginal cancer

Treatment for vaginal cancer includes surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

For more information about treatments for vaginal cancer, visit our treatment page. For information about particular treatments, see the links below.

Looking for support?

Our cancer support section contains information and advice on coping with cancer for diagnosed patients and their loved ones.

For more information

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1800 200 700

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