- Posted by jdavis on August 31, 2011
Each type of treatment for vaginal cancer has a different goal. You may have more than one type of treatment. Your doctors will take your individual situation into consideration when making treatment recommendations. Here is a list of the main treatments and their goals.
- Surgery. Small cancers in the vagina that have not spread may be treated with surgery. The goals of surgery are to remove the cancer from the vagina and to biopsy the lymph nodes in the groin. The nodes in the groin are the places vaginal cancer generally spreads so a biopsy on these nodes helps your doctor see if the cancer is spreading (metastasizing). You may need to have other organs or tissue removed during surgery, depending upon the extent of the cancer’s spread.
- Radiation therapy. Advanced cancer in the vagina is usually first treated with radiation, along with small amounts of chemotherapy given at the same time. The goal of this treatment is to kill cancer cells by using high-energy radiation. Your doctor may use low-dose chemotherapy along with radiation therapy to make your treatment more effective. You may have this treatment after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. However, doctors often use radiation alone to cure vaginal cancers, especially smaller ones.
- Chemotherapy. This is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. The goal of chemotherapy is to shrink the cancer while also reducing the chance that the cancer will spread to other parts of the body. You may have chemotherapy alone or along with radiation to increase the effectiveness of the radiation therapy.