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When Does HPV Infection Become Cancer?

When a person is infected with HPV, the cells divide more often than normal, and warts tend to grow when cell growth is fast. The HPV that causes warts to grow is not the same as the one that causes cancer. There are 2 different types of HPV, the low-risk and high-risk. If you’ve been infected with a high-risk type HPV, the virus has the ability to damage a person’s DNA. When this happens, cells tend to start dividing and growing which can lead to the development of cancer.


HPV and Genital Warts

Genitals warts are lesions that grow on your genitals and is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). This form of infection is considered a sexually transmitted infection as this can be acquired through sex. Having genital warts can be very itchy and painful at the same time.

Of all the sexually transmitted infections, HPV is considered as the most common infection. Those who engage in frequent sex, especially with different partners, are more susceptible to HPV problems. Being infected can be very threatening to women because there are particular strains of HPV that can lead to cervical and vulvar cancer.

There are about 40 HPV strains that may have an effect on your genitals. However, only a few of these can lead to genital warts. Being infected with HPV doesn’t necessarily mean that you will grow warts, even if it’s a strain that causes genital warts.


Genital Warts and Cancer

A high-risk HPV infection is the main reason for acquiring cervical cancer. If not cervical cancer, it may also lead to dysplasia, which is when tissue or organs grow abnormally.

As mentioned earlier, the infection may also lead to vulvar cancer. Other than that, having genital warts can also lead to penile and anal cancer. Two particular strains of high-risk HPV infection, HPV strains 16 and 18, cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases.


Genital Warts Treatment

All forms of warts, including genital warts, will disappear by themselves over time. However, the virus can stay in your skin cells for a long time and can recur in no time. So, it is very important to control the symptoms to avoid infecting others with the virus. Even without genital warts, it can still be transmitted.

Most people with genital warts would want to treat them because they would want its appearance to be minimized or relieve the pain. With genital warts, you cannot use over-the-counter medication to treat genital warts. Your doctor may prescribe Imiquimod, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or Podofilox.

If you’ve been using prescription medication to treat warts and genital warts’ appearance haven’t disappeared, you may want to inform your doctor about the issue and your doctor may recommend that you undergo minor surgery, and could be either of the following:

  • Surgical Excision
  • Laser surgery
  • Intralesional Immunotherapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Electrosurgery with Curettage