Vaginal cancer is a serious condition where every woman doesn’t want to experience. It’s a rare kind of cancer that begins in the private part of woman’s body. Various cases of vaginal cancer include lifestyle habits which can be prevented, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Age and medications of a pregnant woman may have consumed, are some other causes which are inevitable
Primary vaginal cancer is when cancer begins in the vagina while Secondary vaginal cancer is when cancer occurs in the cervix, womb or ovaries, and suddenly spreads to the vagina.
What Causes vaginal cancer?
Experts don’t have scientific basis about the exact causes of vaginal cancer but numerous conditions that cause the cells of the vagina may result to become cancerous.
Here are the eleven proved causes of vaginal cancer:
Elder women have the greater chances of having this kind of cancer. Early 40’s women get only 15 % possibilities in this cases. About 50% of the conditions occur in women who are in 70 years of age and above.
Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen. It was prescribed to pregnant women between 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage, premature birth, and related complications pregnancy. It was stopped by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1971 because it can cause cancer, birth defects, and other developmental abnormalities.
Radiotherapy is used to treat cancer in the pelvic area but sometimes it leads problems in later life and also it slightly increases the risk of vaginal cancer.
Around 40% of women who have already started having periods are most likely prone to this cases. A vagina is lined by flat cells called squamous cells, also it may have one or more areas lined by glandular cells. Areas in glandular cells are called adenosis, it occurs in most women who were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) during the pregnancy of their mother. Though adenosis increases the chances of developing clear cell carcinoma, it is very unusual to have this condition.
Human Papilloma Virus
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a group of more than 150 viruses that usually causes warts. HPV commonly causes warts on the hands and feet but there were instances that it is on the lips and tongue. There are various types of papilloma virus, and some of it can infect the external part of the genital organs of both male and female. The HPV 6 and HPV 11 mainly causes genital warts and seldom associated with cancer. HPV can spread through skin-to-skin contact and unprotected sex including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Nine out of ten papillomae are linked to vaginal and pre-cancers.
Cervical cancer or pre- cancer increases a woman’s chances of vaginal cancer. This is because vaginal and cervical cancer is likely similar risk factors such as smoking and HPV infection that is most common sexually transmitted infection.
Smoking cigarettes have greater chances of developing vaginal cancer.
Based on a study conducted, women who consumed alcohol discovered the higher risk of vaginal cancer than women who do not drink alcohol.
Gynecological Cancer History
Women who have had a gynecological cancer history including cervical cancer or early cervical cell is more likely to be diagnosed with vaginal cancer.
HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS ( Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) are the same viruses that can affect the risk of vaginal cancer.
Women who stretched pelvic ligaments may cause the uterus to sag inside the vagina or the extent outside the vagina. Wearing a pessary, a device that keeps the uterus in place may one of the treatments for this case but the irritation of vagina in women using pessary can cause the increased risk of squamous cell vaginal cancer.