If vaginal cancer is diagnosed, the doctor needs to know the stage, or extent, of the disease to plan the best treatment. Staging is a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread, and if so, to what parts of the body.
Stages of Vaginal Cancer
Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ):
In stage 0, abnormal cells are found in tissue lining the inside of the vagina. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.
- In this stage, cancer has formed and is found in the vagina only.
- In this stage, cancer has spread from the vagina to the tissue around the vagina.
- In this stage, cancer has spread from the vagina to the lymph nodes in the pelvis or groin, or to the pelvis, or to both.
- This stage is divided into stage IVA and stage IVB:
Cancer may have spread to lymph nodes in the pelvis or groin and has spread to one or both of the lining of the bladder or rectum, or, beyond the pelvis.
Cancer has spread to parts of the body that are not near the vagina, such as the lungs. Cancer may also have spread to the lymph nodes.
Knowing the stage assists the doctor in determining a prognosis. It also better helps you understand the care and treatment that will be required.