Vaginal cancer is a rare cancer that occurs in the vagina, the muscular tube that connects the uterus to the outer genitals. It most commonly occurs in the cells that line the surface of the vagina, which is sometimes called the birth canal. While several types of cancer can spread to the vagina from other places in the body, cancer that begins in the vagina (primary vaginal cancer) is rare.
Vaginal cancer is divided into different types based on the type of cell where the cancer began.
- Vaginal squamous cell carcinoma, which begins in the thin, flat cells (squamous cells) that line the surface of the vagina, and is the most common type
- Vaginal adenocarcinoma, which begins in the glandular cells on the surface of the vagina
- Vaginal melanoma, which develops in the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) of the vagina
- Vaginal sarcoma, which develops in the connective tissue cells or muscles cells in the walls of the vagina