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Vaginal Cancer Diagnosis

Cancer specialists at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center are highly experienced in using the most advanced techniques for diagnosing vaginal cancer. During an evaluation for vaginal cancer, your doctor will ask for your medical history and perform a pelvic exam. A Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) test may also be performed at this time.

If vaginal cancer is suspected, your doctor may perform a colposcopy, which uses an instrument to light up and magnify the area, or a biopsy, in which a small piece of the suspected cancer is removed to be tested by a pathologist.

Imaging tests, including X-rays, computed tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, may also be done to see if cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Vaginal cancer prognosis

If vaginal cancer is diagnosed, prognosis (the predicted course of the cancer) will depend on the following factors:

  • The stage of the cancer (whether it is in the vagina only or has spread to other areas).
  • The size of the tumor
  • The grade of tumor cells (how different they look from normal cells under a microscope)
  • Where the cancer is within the vagina
  • Whether there are signs or symptoms at diagnosis
  • Age and general health
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back)

If you are diagnosed with vaginal cancer, we have the most advanced treatment options available, including surgical and nonsurgical procedures, as well as clinical trials.

Staging Vaginal Cancer

Staging vaginal cancer can help physicians at the Abramson Cancer Center create a treatment plan designed specifically for you.