Vaginal cancer is one of the rarest types of cancer affecting the female reproductive system. Vaginal cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the tissues of the vagina grow in an uncontrolled way. Vaginal cancer is rare with less than 20 women diagnosed each year in Australia. Due to its rareness, knowledge about risk factors is sparse.

  • An estimated 116 women will be diagnosed with vaginal cancer in Australia in 2021;
  • In 2013–2017, females diagnosed with vaginal cancer had a 52% chance of surviving for five years.


Consult a doctor if you have any of these symptoms. Vaginal cancer often does not cause early symptoms but may be found during a routine cervical screening test.

Known risk factors

Vaginal cancer is not infectious. The known risk factors for vaginal cancer are:

Diagnosis & treatment

While most cancer is of “skin” type (squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma), some cancers are very aggressive arising from stromal tissue (sarcomas) or from glandular tissue (adenocarcinomas). Treatment involves surgical excision for very early cancers and radiotherapy, chemotherapy or a combination of both for more advanced cancers.

For detailed information on diagnosis and treatment visit the Cancer Australia website.

Source: Cancer Australia 2020, Cancer Council Australia 2020