What are the symptoms of vaginal cancer?


Early-stage vaginal cancer often does not cause symptoms. Many women find out they have vaginal cancer after they have an abnormal cervical screening test result. 

The symptoms of vaginal cancer include: 

  • blood-stained vaginal discharge  
  • bleeding after sexual intercourse 
  • pain in the pelvic area 
  • a lump in the vagina 
  • problems with passing urine, such as blood in the urine, the need to pass urine frequently and the need to pass urine during the night 
  • pain in the rectum (back passage). 

Many conditions can cause these symptoms, not just vaginal cancer. If you have any of these symptoms or are worried, see your doctor. If you have vaginal bleeding after menopause, you should talk to your doctor. 


Screening is the use of tests to detect a disease in people who have no symptoms.  

There is no specific vaginal cancer screening program. 

However, the cervical screening test is a swab test that looks for signs of HPV infection in your cervix, which may develop into cervical cancer. HPV infection is also a cause of vaginal cancer.  

If you have a positive cervical screening test result, you might see a gynaecologist, who will look for signs of other types of gynaecological cancers, not just cervical cancer. 

All women who have ever had sex should have a cervical screening test every 5 years from the ages of 25 to 74 years. The Cervical Screening Test replaced the Pap smear as a screening test in 2017.  

To learn more about the Cervical Screening Test, talk to your GP or gynaecologist, or see the information on the National Cervical Screening Program website