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Vaginal cancer

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Grades of vaginal cancer

Grading is a way of classifying vaginal cancer cells based on their appearance and behaviour when viewed under a microscope. To find out the grade of a tumour, the biopsy sample is examined under a microscope. A grade is given based on how the cancer cells look and behave compared with normal cells (differentiation). This can give the healthcare team an idea of how quickly the cancer may be growing and how likely it is to spread.

The histopathological grade (G category) of vaginal carcinoma is based on the degree of differentiation of cells and their rate of growth. The description applies to all vaginal carcinomas (but not melanoma or sarcoma).



differentiation cannot be assessed


well differentiated – slow growing, less likely to spread


moderately differentiated


poorly differentiated or undifferentiated – tend to grow quickly, more likely to spread

Grading plays an important part in planning vaginal cancer treatment and can also be used to help estimate the prognosis (future outcome).


Dr Roger Zemp Dr Roger Zemp developed an innovative way to track cancer cells.

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