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Vaginal Cancer – Causes

August 17, 2021


Women who have HPV, human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted disease, have an increased risk of several cancers of the reproductive organs. This includes vaginal cancer. Other cancers are vulvar and cervical cancers. In most women, an HPV infection will go away on its own, but for some it can persist and pose a risk of cancer. Anything that increases the risk of HPV acquisition and persistence increases the risks of these cancers. These things include multiple sexual partners, early age when intercourse starts, smoking, an autoimmune condition, HIV infection, any condition that causes the immune system to work less effectively such as organ transplantation, women who have been treated for cervical cancer or precancerous cervical conditions, women whose mothers took DES to prevent miscarriage. This was a drug that was often prescribed in the 1950s when they were pregnant. These women are at risk for a particular type of vaginal cancer that’s called the adenocarcinoma. Women who are older are also at risk. The average vaginal cancer patient is diagnosed after the age of 60 and a woman’s risk of developing increases as she gets older. However vaginal cancer can affect women of any age. Quitting smoking, practicing safe sex and limiting sexual partners, HPV vaccine, getting gynecologic examinations can all decrease the risk of vaginal cancer.

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