Warts and Cancer: How are they related?

The types of HPV that cause external visible warts, HPV types 6 and 11, rarely cause cancer. Other types of HPV, most common types 16, 18, 31, 33 and 35, are less common in visible warts, but are closely associated with anogenital cancers such as:

  • Penile, vulvar and anal skin intraepithelial neoplasia.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) of the cervix, penis, vulva and anus.

In some cases, HPV also causes oral and nasopharyngeal cancer.

Only a small proportion of infected people develop anogenital cancer. This is because HPV infection is just one factor in the process; smoking and the immune system are also important factors affecting cancer development.

It is known that most cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV infection. Thus, the examination of upper genital system warts in women at the recommended intervals without delay is of utmost importance. More regular cervix examinations are not required if you have wartsin organs of the upper genital tract.

Cervical specimens obtained in a Pap test detect early cervical abnormalities, which can then be treated. If these abnormalities are neglected for a long time, they could develop in cancer.

In addition, it seems that the risk for many types of cancer is slightly higher if you have HPV infection. This includes other cancers in the anogenital region, and certain types of oral, pharyngeal and throat cancer.

How does HPV cause cancer?

HPV can cause normal cells in the infected skin to become abnormal.

In most cases, you cannot see or feel these cellular changes. Most of the times, the body fights on its own, in a natural way, against HPV infection and the infected cells become normal. But when the body cannot effectively fight against the virus, HPV can cause visible changes, while certain types of HPV can cause cancer. Cancer caused by HPV often needs years to develop after the initial HPV infection.

See the other categories on warts and call us on 216 900 5000 to evaluate your condition or answer any questions you may have:

Oral Warts

Penile Warts

Anal Warts

Warts in Women

Vaginal Warts

Vulvar Warts