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Vaginal stenosis in patients treated with radiotherapy for carcinoma of the cervix
  1. A. H. Brand*,
  2. C. A. Bull and
  3. B. Cakir
  1. *Department of Gynaecologic Oncology, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  2. Department of Radiation Oncology, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr Alison H. Brand, Department of Gynaecologic Oncology, Westmead Hospital, P.O. Box 533, Wentworthville, NSW, Australia 2145. Email: alisonb{at}


The aim of our study was to determine the incidence, timing, and severity of vaginal stenosis in patients with carcinoma of the cervix who had received pelvic and/or vaginal radiotherapy as part of their treatment. We also sought to determine if there were any predisposing factors for the development of stenosis. A retrospective chart review was undertaken for all the patients diagnosed with carcinoma of the cervix between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 2000 and treated with pelvic and/or vaginal radiation at Westmead Hospital. Since January 1, 1990, data regarding vaginal stenosis has been prospectively recorded on all the patients. Data collected included patient demographics, stage of disease, treatments administered, and incidence, timing, and severity of vaginal stenosis. One hundred and eighty-eight patients were treated. Mean age was 58.6 years. Thirteen percent of patients had stage IB disease, 45% had stage II disease, 39.5% had stage III disease, and 1.5% had stage IV disease. One hundred and seventy-nine patients returned for follow-up, and data regarding vaginal toxicity were available in 98%. Twenty-seven percent had grade 1 toxicity (partial stenosis or shortening but not complete occlusion), and 11% had grade 2 (complete occlusion). Stenosis of any grade was noted at a mean of 9.6 months and median of 7.5 months (range, 26 days–5.6 years) from completion of treatment. The only prognostic factor associated with increased risk of stenosis was age greater than 50 years (odds ratio 2.26). Vaginal stenosis is a common complication of pelvic and vaginal radiotherapy, occurring in 38% of patients. Stenosis occurs most often in the first year after treatment. Patients over the age of 50 are most at risk.

  • pelvic radiotherapy
  • vaginal stenosis

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  • Previously presented at the Annual Clinical Meeting, Gynecologic Oncologists of Canada, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada, June 28, 2003.