The next time you find a new wart on your body, don’t be alarmed all at once. Warts are very common. In fact, a large percentage of Americans will find a wart on their body at any given time. Although most warts are harmless, it pays to know a little bit more about them to decide if you might need to have it looked at by our doctor.
Warts are caused by a virus known as HPV, or human papillomavirus. HPV is very contagious and is transmitted in several different ways. There are at least 70 different varieties of the HPV virus. These occur naturally on the human skin and, most times, are not troublesome at all. It’s when the immune system is weak that these viruses can begin to multiply and cause warts.
Illness and medications can cause the HPV virus to be contracted into the bloodstream. Any illness that lowers the strength of the immune system can lead to HPV contraction and warts. Medications that might be taken to relieve symptoms might add to the weakness of the immune system, allowing the virus to multiply even further.
Improper hygiene can cause common plantar warts to occur. Neglecting to properly care for a simple cut can cause them, too. Even simple activities like being barefoot in high traffic public areas and not practicing proper hygiene can be a high risk for developing them.
Sexual contact can lead to contracting warts. These kinds of warts are the most serious. Commonly known as genital warts, they can develop both on the outside genitalia and also on the inside. It can take from one to up to 24 months for these to appear after sexual contact.
Most warts found on the body are not associated with cancer at all. However, there are some types of the HPV virus that develop with the connection to cervical cancer, anal cancer and cancer of the vulva. These can cause a number of problems, especially for expectant mothers.
The size of these warts can increase and cause childbirth to be much more painful and actually cause obstruction. Urination during the last couple of months before delivery can be very painful if something is not done about them.
How Cancerous Warts Are Diagnosed
It’s up to you to decide if you need to see our doctor about a wart you think might be cancerous. Any skin changes, including bumps and lumps and discolorations, are good reasons to see our doctor. All our doctor needs to do is give you a quick physical exam to determine if the warts are actually calluses, moles, skin tags or if they are indeed cancerous. A biopsy might need to be performed. This is when a small sample of tissue is taken from the area and sent to the lab for testing.
The possibility of a wart being cancerous is enough of a reason to visit Doctor’s Approach as soon as possible after finding one on your body. This will give our doctor enough time to provide the appropriate treatment you may need. We have locations in Okemos, Carson City and St. Johns. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.