Warts Cervical Cancer

All warts, whether they’re on the hands, feet, face or genitals, are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV.

HPV is one of the most important known cervical cancer causes. Does this mean that if you have cervical warts you’re going to get cancer? Not necessarily. The HPV strains that cause cervical warts are not cervical cancer causes. But if you have been diagnosed with HPV, you should have regular Pap smear tests because of the link between HPV and cancer.

About HPV

HPV is one of the most widespread viruses in the world, with more than 20 million people currently affected. It’s also one of the most diverse. Scientists have identified more than 100 different strains of HPV.

The different strains of HPV have varying effects on the body. Some don’t cause any symptoms at all, others cause filiform warts or cervical warts and still others are cervical cancer causes.

HPV and Cervical Warts

HPV is so common that experts estimate that 50 percent of all sexually active men and women have an HPV infection at some point in their lives. HPV types 6 and 11 are the HPV strains most associated with genital warts.

These strains are called low-risk HPVs, because they’re not considered cervical cancer causes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at any given time about one percent of the US population has genital warts.

Genital warts are spread through sexual contact. However, after contact with an infected individual, warts might not appear for weeks, months or at all. They might also appear in hidden places like inside the vagina, or on the cervix.

People who show no symptoms may be infected with HPV and pass it along to others.

HPV and Cancer

Certain strains of HPV are considered cervical cancer causes. They are HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33 and 35. These are called high-risk HPV strains, and they may be associated with cancer of the anus, bladder and vulva.

Infection with HPV is considered a necessary precursor to cervical cancer, but scientists continue to study other factors that increase the risk of cervical cancer among women with HPV infection.

As a preventive measure and diagnostic tool, when a woman with HPV has an abnormal Pap smear, doctors may follow up with a test to determine the strain of HPV involved so they can initiate appropriate care.  

Resources

American Cancer Society. (2010). What are the risk factors for cervical cancer?Retrieved June 23, 2010, from: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CervicalCancer/DetailedGuide/cervical-cancer-risk-factors.

Cornforth, T. (2010). The HPV cervical cancerconnection. Retrieved June 23, 2010, from: http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/cervicalcancer/a/hpvcervcancercn.htm.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (n.d.). HPV infection. Retrieved June 23, 2010, from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hpv-infection/DS00906.

National Cancer Institute. (2008). Human papillomaviruses and cancer: Questions and answers. Retrieved June 23, 2010, from: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/HPV.