Treatment for vaginal cancer

Vaginal cancer is often treatable.

The treatment you have will depend on:

The main treatment for vaginal cancer is radiotherapy. You may also have surgery and chemotherapy.

The specialist team looking after you will:

If you have any symptoms or side effects that you are worried about, talk to your specialists. You do not need to wait for your next check-up.


Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays of radiation to kill cancer cells. It's the main treatment for vaginal cancer.

Radiotherapy for vaginal cancer can be given from outside or inside the body (brachytherapy).


Surgery is usually only used on vaginal cancer that's found early. It's also used if radiotherapy has not worked.

There are several surgeries used to treat vaginal cancer.

Different surgeries involve removing:

Vaginal reconstruction

If your vagina has to be removed, you can ask the surgeon about vaginal reconstruction.

A vaginal reconstruction uses skin and muscle from other parts of your body to create a new vagina.

This means you may be able to have vaginal sex again once you have recovered from the operation.

Ask your surgeon about the risks and benefits of vaginal reconstruction. Some people decide they do not want to have additional surgery.


Chemotherapy uses medicines to kill cancer cells.

It's not often used on its own to treat vaginal cancer.

You may have chemotherapy with radiotherapy (chemoradiotherapy).

Care after your treatment

A member of your specialist team will be able to tell you how often you will need check-ups after your treatment.

You will usually be seen every few months for the first few years. At each visit a doctor or nurse will check if you have any worries or problems.

It can also help to get support from family, friends or a support organisation if you get anxious between appointments.

Page last reviewed: 10 August 2021
Next review due: 10 August 2021