Skip to main content

ACS & ASCO are Stronger Together: Cancer.Net content is now available on



Can I Get Another Cancer After Having Vaginal Cancer?

Cancer survivors can be affected by a number of health problems, but often their greatest concern is facing cancer again. If a cancer comes back after treatment it's called a recurrence. But some cancer survivors may develop a new, unrelated cancer later. This is called a second cancer. No matter what type of cancer you have had, it's still possible to get another (new) cancer, even after surviving the first.

Being treated for cancer doesn’t mean you can’t get another cancer. And people who have had cancer can still get the same types of cancers that other people get. In fact, certain types of cancer and cancer treatments can be linked to a higher risk of certain second cancers.

Survivors of vaginal cancer can get any type of second cancer, but they have an increased risk of:

They may have an increased risk of lung cancer. The risk of bladder cancer is also increased in women who were treated with radiation.

These cancers are all linked to smoking, which is also a risk factor for vaginal cancer. And both vaginal and vulvar cancer are linked to infection with human papilloma virus (HPV).

Follow-up after treatment

After completing treatment for vaginal cancer women will see their doctors regularly to look for signs of their cancer coming back, as well as signs of a new cancer of the vagina. Experts do not recommend extra testing to look for second cancers in women without symptoms. Let your doctor know about any new symptoms or problems, because they could be caused by the cancer coming back or by a new disease or second cancer.

Survivors of vaginal cancer should follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer and stay away from tobacco products. Smoking increases the risk of many cancers, including the second cancers most often seen in women treated for vaginal cancer.

To help maintain good health, survivors should also:

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight
  • Keep physically active and limit the time you spend sitting or lying down
  • Follow a healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limits or avoids red and processed meats, sugary drinks, and highly processed foods
  • Not drink alcohol. If you do drink, have no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 per day for men

These steps may also lower the risk of some other health problems.

See Second Cancers in Adults for more on the causes of second cancers.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Revised: June 9, 2020

American Cancer Society Emails

Sign up to stay up-to-date with news, valuable information, and ways to get involved with the American Cancer Society.