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Vaginal cancer

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Signs and symptoms of vaginal cancer

A sign is something that can be observed and recognized by a doctor or healthcare professional (for example, a rash). A symptom is something that only the person experiencing it can feel and know (for example, pain or tiredness). Vaginal cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Symptoms appear once the tumour grows into surrounding tissues and organs.

The signs and symptoms of vaginal cancer can also be caused by other health conditions. It is important to have any unusual symptoms checked by a doctor.

Signs and symptoms of vaginal cancer are:

  • abnormal vaginal bleeding
    • after intercourse
    • after menopause
    • between menstrual periods
    • after vaginal douching
  • abnormal vaginal discharge – may be foul smelling or blood tinged
  • painful sexual intercourse
  • lump in the vagina that can be felt

Late signs and symptoms

Late signs and symptoms occur as the cancer grows larger or spreads to other parts of the body, including other organs.

  • pain
    • pelvis
    • back
    • legs
    • perineum (area between vagina and anus)
  • change in bladder habits
    • burning or pain during urination (dysuria)
    • blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • change in bowel habits
    • blood in the stool
    • constipation
    • painful bowel movements
  • swelling in the legs or groin


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