Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Causes and risk factors

The following have been suggested as risk factors for vaginal cancer:

  • Age – half of women affected are older than 60, with most between ages 50 and 70.
  • Exposure to diethylstilbestrol as a fetus (mother took DES during pregnancy). 
  • History of cervical cancer. 
  • History of cervical precancerous conditions.
  • Human papillomavirus infection. 
  • Vaginal irritation. 
  • Uterine prolapse. 
  • Smoking.