Outstanding cancer care requires an unparalleled team. Our specialists in medical oncology, chemotherapy, radiation medicine, pathology and radiology all work and consult together to deliver you the most effective treatments.

One common treatment for vaginal cancer is surgery, where a procedure is performed to remove the tumor and a margin of healthy tissue. Patients have several surgical options, and the type of surgery can depend on a few factors, such as:

  • Your overall health
  • The type and stage of your cancer
  • The size of the tumor
  • If the cancer has spread within the vagina, outside of the vagina to the lymph nodes or to other parts of the body

The most common types of vaginal cancer surgery include:

  • Local excision. In a local excision procedure, the surgeon removes the cancer along with surrounding tissue. For small stage 1 cancers, treatment may include a radical wide local excision along with a procedure to evaluate the lymph nodes.
  • Vaginectomy. This type of surgery aims to remove the vagina. Depending on the case, full- or partial vaginectomy may be required. A radical vaginectomy is removal of the vagina along with surrounding tissue.

Radiation therapy is a treatment for cancer that uses high-energy X-rays. A machine directs the rays of energy to the area of cancer, with a goal to kill or shrink cancer cells.

Learn more about radiation treatment for vaginal cancer below and visit our Radiation Oncology website for an overview of services.

Radiation therapy is the most common treatment for vaginal cancer but is also often used along with other treatments like surgery or chemotherapy. Your doctor may advise radiation to:

  • Serve as the main treatment, sometimes along with chemotherapy.
  • Shrink a tumor to make it easier to operate on before surgery.
  • Kill any remaining small areas of cancer following a surgery.
  • Treat a single area of cancer spread, such as a tumor in the brain or an adrenal gland. This may be done along with surgery to treat the tumor.
  • Relieve symptoms such as pain, bleeding, trouble swallowing, cough or problems caused by a spread of cancer.

Types of radiation therapy

External beam radiation therapy. This treatment is the most common type of radiation therapy used to treat vaginal cancer. It focuses radiation from outside the body on the cancer to eliminate cancer cells.

NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - A Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Markey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – a distinction that recognizes our commitment to accelerating precision cancer research and care to patients. We are the first and only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center in Kentucky, and one of 57 in the nation.