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Vaginal Cancer Treatment Options by Stage

For information about the treatments listed below, see the Treatment Option Overview section.

Vaginal Intraepithelial Neoplasia (VAIN)

Treatment of vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN) 1 is usually watchful waiting.

Treatment of VAIN 2 and 3 may include the following:

  • Watchful waiting.
  • Laser surgery.
  • Wide local excision, with or without a skin graft.
  • Partial or total vaginectomy, with or without a skin graft.
  • Topical chemotherapy.
  • Internal radiation therapy.
  • A clinical trial of a new topical chemotherapy drug.

Stage I Vaginal Cancer

Treatment of stage I squamous cell vaginal cancer may include the following:

  • Internal radiation therapy.
  • External radiation therapy, especially for large tumors or the lymph nodes near tumors in the lower part of the vagina.
  • Wide local excision or vaginectomy with vaginal reconstruction. Radiation therapy may be given after the surgery.
  • Vaginectomy and lymph node dissection, with or without vaginal reconstruction. Radiation therapy may be given after the surgery.

Treatment of stage I vaginal adenocarcinoma may include the following:

  • Vaginectomy, hysterectomy, and lymph node dissection. This may be followed by vaginal reconstruction and/or radiation therapy.
  • Internal radiation therapy. External radiation therapy may also be given to the lymph nodes near tumors in the lower part of the vagina.
  • A combination of therapies that may include wide local excision with or without lymph node dissection and internal radiation therapy.

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

Stage II Vaginal Cancer

Treatment of stage II vaginal cancer is the same for squamous cell cancer and adenocarcinoma. Treatment may include the following:

  • Both internal and external radiation therapy to the vagina. External radiation therapy may also be given to the lymph nodes near tumors in the lower part of the vagina.
  • Vaginectomy or pelvic exenteration. Internal and/or external radiation therapy may also be given.

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

Stage III Vaginal Cancer

Treatment of stage III vaginal cancer is the same for squamous cell cancer and adenocarcinoma. Treatment may include the following:

  • External radiation therapy. Internal radiation therapy may also be given.
  • Surgery (rare) followed by external radiation therapy. Internal radiation therapy may also be given.

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

Stage IVA Vaginal Cancer

Treatment of stage IVA vaginal cancer is the same for squamous cell cancer and adenocarcinoma. Treatment may include the following:

  • External radiation therapy and/or internal radiation therapy.
  • Surgery (rare) followed by external radiation therapy and/or internal radiation therapy.

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

Stage IVB Vaginal Cancer

Treatment of stage IVB vaginal cancer is the same for squamous cell cancer and adenocarcinoma. Treatment may include the following:

  • Radiation therapy as palliative therapy, to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life. Chemotherapy may also be given.
  • A clinical trial of anticancer drugs and/or radiosensitizers.

Although no anticancer drugs have been shown to help patients with stage IVB vaginal cancer live longer, they are often treated with regimens used for cervical cancer. (See the PDQ summary on Cervical Cancer Treatment.)

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Navigating Care disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information. This information was sourced and adapted from Adapted from the National Cancer Institute's Physician Data Query (PDQ®) Cancer Information Summaries on www.cancer.gov.

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