A vaginal tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the vagina, a female reproductive organ.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Most cancerous vaginal tumors occur when another cancer, such as cervical or endometrial cancer, spreads. This is called secondary vaginal cancer.
Primary vaginal cancer is very rare. Most primary vaginal cancers start in skin cells called squamous cells. The rest are adenocarcinoma (6%), melanoma (3%), and sarcoma (3%).
The cause of squamous cell carcinoma of the vagina is unknown. However, up to 30% of patients have had cervical cancer.
About 75% of patients with squamous cell cancer of the vagina are over 50. Adenocarcinomas of the vagina more commonly affect younger women. The average age at which adenocarcinoma of the vagina is diagnosed is 19.
Women whose mothers took diethylstilbestrol (DES, which was prescribed to prevent miscarriages) during the first 3 months of pregnancy are at increased risk for developing adenocarcinoma.
Sarcoma botryoides of the vagina is a rare type of cancer that mainly occurs in infancy and early childhood.
Pictures & ImagesFemale reproductive anatomy
External structures of the female reproductive anatomy include the labium minora and majora, the vagina and the clitoris. Internal structures include the uterus, ovaries and cervix.Normal uterine anatomy (cut section)
The uterus is a muscular organ with thick walls, two upper openings to the fallopian tubes and an inferior opening to the vagina.Uterus
The uterus is a hollow muscular organ located in the female pelvis between the bladder and rectum. The ovaries produce the eggs that travel through the fallopian tubes. Once the egg has left the ovary it can be fertilized and implant itself in the lining of the uterus. The main function of the uterus is to nourish the developing fetus prior to birth.
Review Date : 11/1/2009
Reviewed By : Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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