In the early stages, vaginal cancer may not cause any symptoms. As a result, it is normally detected only in later stages. Though the exact cause of most vaginal cancers is unknown, a number of conditions and factors have been shown to be related to a high risk of contracting the disease. Dr. Pramod Kumar Julka, Senior Director - Oncology Daycare Centre, Max Institute of Cancer Care-Lajpat Nagar, discusses some of the risk factors at length.
A History of cancer in the womb or the cervix
If you have had cancer in the womb or the cervix, then you have a higher chance of getting vaginal cancer. Cancer in the womb increases the chances of getting cancer by at least 300%. Cervical cancer has also been shown to increase the risk of vaginal cancer. This is because the risk factors for these two cancers are almost the same; hence the occurrence of one often increases the likelihood of the other.
Vaginal cancer normally occurs in elderly women. More than 50% of the reported cancer cases occur in women over the age of 70. Though there are cases reported in younger women, these account for only a sliver of the total number of cases.
Researchers have found that smoking more than doubles the possibility of a woman developing vaginal cancer. When it comes to smoking, it’s not possible to compromise. Stop smoking today and lower the chances of contracting vaginal cancer.
Alcohol consumption also increases the risk of vaginal cancer. A study showed that woman who drinks alcohol are more likely to develop vaginal cancer than the average woman. On the other hand, the studies also showed that woman who does not drink alcohol have a lower risk of contracting vaginal cancer than the average woman.
Though doctors and researchers are still not entirely sure what causes vaginal cancer, the risk factors outlined above have been shown to drastically increase the risk of this disease. If you are a woman above 50 and have a history of cancer in the womb or the cervix, visit a medical professional today for a thorough screening. By detecting vaginal cancer in its early stages, you increase the chances of a successful treatment and a thorough recovery. By cutting as many risk factors as possible out of your daily routine, you increase the chances of a healthy body and a cancer-free future.