ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.
People with vaginal cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Symptoms are changes that you can feel in your body. Signs are changes in something measured, like by taking your blood pressure or doing a lab test. Together, symptoms and signs can help describe a medical problem. Sometimes, people with vaginal cancer do not have any of the symptoms and signs described below. Or, the cause of a symptom or sign may be a medical condition that is not cancer.
Precancerous conditions, such as vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VaIN; see Introduction), and early-stage vaginal cancer do not often cause symptoms. Cancer in later stages can cause symptoms. Many cases of VaIN and early vaginal cancer can be found through regular gynecologic examinations or Pap tests (see Diagnosis).
The most common symptom of vaginal cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding. Vaginal bleeding during or after menopause may be the sign of a problem and should be discussed with your doctor. Other symptoms of vaginal cancer include:
Abnormal vaginal discharge
Difficulty or pain when urinating
Pain during sexual intercourse
Pain in the pelvic area (the lower part of the abdomen between the hip bones)
Pain in the back or legs
Swelling in the legs
Abnormal bowel function
If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help figure out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.
If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. Managing symptoms may also be called "palliative care" or "supportive care." It is often started soon after diagnosis and continued throughout treatment. Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.
The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.