According to the statistics of the French Institute of Health Surveillance and the National Cancer Institute, the survival rate of women with cancer of the vagina and the vulva after 5 years is 49%. These alarming statistics should encourage health professionals to be part of a prevention dynamic, and to increase awareness campaigns related to this disabling, and sometimes fatal, disease. In this article, we share with you the causes of vaginal cancer, its most common symptoms, as well as the means of prevention.
Although compared to other cancers, the prevalence of vaginal cancer remains minimal, this cancer is one of the most dangerous, and deadliest in the world. Fortunately, when this cancer is detected during its initial stages, its treatment becomes much simpler and faster, and the chances of survival of people with it are greatly improved. Today, we share with you the symptoms, causes, risk factors, as well as the means of prevention of this disease.
What are the types of vaginal cancer?
Vaginal cancer is a rare cancer that usually affects women over 60, but can also attack younger women. Its impact on the health and quality of life of people with it can be very heavy. According to doctors, there are 4 types of vaginal cancer. Here they are :
– Squamous cell cancer of the vagina: This cancer attacks the squamous cells forming the lining of the vagina. It is the most common vaginal cancer.
– Adenocarcinoma: This cancer proliferates in the glandular cells, responsible for the production of mucus.
– Vaginal melanoma: Vaginal melanoma affects the melanocytes of the vagina. (Cells responsible for the pigmentation of the skin).
– Sarcoma: Sarcoma is one of the rarest and most dangerous cancers. It affects connective tissue, muscle tissue, or bone tissue.
What are the alarming symptoms of vaginal cancer?
Vaginal cancer is usually silent in its initial stage, only after reaching advanced stages, the actual and obvious symptoms begin to appear. This is why doctors recommend that their patients carry out regular checks, and not neglect certain symptoms that are indicative of this disease. Here is a non-exhaustive list of signs that reveal the presence of vaginal cancer:
– Unexplained and frequent bleeding.
– Bleeding in menopausal women.
– Intense pain in the back, pelvis, and other areas of the vagina.
– Pain and bleeding during sex.
– Itching in the vagina.
– Swelling of the vagina.
– Pain in the urine.
– Urine frequent.
Note: Although other diseases that are more or less dangerous than cancer may be responsible for the appearance of these symptoms, it is strongly recommended to consult your doctor as soon as you notice any dysfunction.
What are the risk factors?
Although the exact origin of vaginal cancer remains partially unknown, some factors may increase the risk of this disease. Here are a few :
– Be over 60 years old.
– To be infected with human papillomavirus, AIDS, or other infections and viruses.
– Smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption.
– Chronic vaginal irritation.
– Genetic factors.
– History of other types of cancer such as cancer of the cervix, anal cancer, or vulvar cancer.
How to avoid vaginal cancer?
In addition to promoting your well-being, and improving your health, some simple and easy to follow instructions can help you avoid vaginal cancer and all other types of cancer. Here are a few:
– Adopt a healthy and balanced diet: focus on foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins, and avoid foods that are too fat, too sweet, or too salty.
– Fight against stress and sedentary lifestyle by performing a regular sporting activity, as well as relaxing activities such as yoga or meditation.
– Get enough sleep (8 hours a day).
– Hydrate your body by drinking a sufficient amount of water (1.5 to 2 liters per day)
– Limit your cigarette consumption.
– Avoid excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.
– Remember to perform regular checkups even if you do not have any of the symptoms listed above.
– Never practice unprotected sex.
– Avoid using contraceptive pills for a long time, or without medical advice.
– Consult your doctor if you have an infection, itching or any other persistent dysfunction that you do not know the origin of.