Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

What is vaginal cancer?

Cancer of the vagina, a rare kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which malignant cells are found in the tissues of the vagina.

There are several types of cancer of the vagina. The two most common are:

  • Squamous cell cancer (squamous carcinoma)
    • Squamous carcinoma is most often found in women between the ages of 60 and 80, and accounts for 85 percent to 90 percent of all vaginal cancers.
  • Adenocarcinoma
    • Adenocarcinoma is more often found in women between the ages of 12 and 30, and accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of all vaginal cancers.
    • A rare form of cancer called clear cell adenocarcinoma results from the use of the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) given to pregnant women between 1945 and 1970 to keep them from miscarrying.

Other types of vaginal cancer

  • Malignant melanoma
  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma

What is the vagina?

The vagina is the passageway through which fluid passes out of the body during menstrual periods. It also is called the “birth canal.” The vagina connects the cervix (the opening of the womb, or uterus) and the vulva (the external genitalia).


Vaginal cancer topics