Vaginal cancer is a rare type of cancer that begins in the vagina. Around 260 new cases arediagnosed in the UK each year.

Cancer that begins in the vagina is called primary vaginal cancer. Cancer that begins in another part of the body such as the cervix, womb or ovaries and spreads to the vagina is known as secondary vaginal cancer.

This topic is about primary vaginal cancer. There are separate topics on Cervical cancer , ovarian cancer and womb cancer .

Signs and symptoms

The most common symptom of vaginal cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding. This includes:

  • bleeding between your normal periods , or after sex
  • bleeding after the menopause ( post-menopausal bleeding )

Other symptoms can include:

  • smelly or bloody vaginal discharge
  • pain during sex
  • pain when urinating
  • needing to urinate more frequently than usual
  • blood in your urine
  • pelvic pain
  • an itch or lump in your vagina

See your GP if you experience any abnormal vaginal bleeding, changes in your usual pattern of periods (such as irregular periods or heavier periods than usual), or problems urinating.

While it's highly unlikely that these symptoms are caused by vaginal cancer, they should still be investigated by your GP.



The chances of vaginal cancer being cured depend on things such as the stage at which it was diagnosed, your age and your general health.

Overall, around six in every 10 women with vaginal cancerwill live for at least five years after diagnosis.

Around 110 women die from vaginal cancer every year in the UK.

Want to know more?

  • Cancer Research UK: vaginal cancer
  • Macmillan: vaginal cancer
Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016