What Is the Connection between Cervical Cancer and Warts?

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  • Written By: C. Webb
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2018
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While there is a strong connection to some types of human papillomavirus (HPV) and the future development of cervical cancer, the HPV that causes genital warts to form is not one of those types. Cervical cancer and warts have no relation to each other. Genital warts are only one of the estimated 40 strains of HPV. In 90 percent of women who contract various strains of HPV, including genital warts, the HPV disappears within two years. For the remaining 10 percent who continue to have it, there is an increased risk of cervical cancer; however, the increased risk is never from genital warts.

Genital warts can present as one wart or a cluster of warts in the genital area. Some are round, others are flat, and some have a cauliflower appearance. The warts typically appear between a week and a few months after sexual contact with someone who has them. A medical professional can make a definitive diagnosis of genital warts. They do not require treatment, but if unsightly or causing pain due to friction with clothing, they can be removed in a doctor's office during an outpatient procedure. If a woman contracts cervical cancer and warts, they are treated separately.


Though there is no direct connection between cervical cancer and warts, contracting genital warts is evidence that the person had unprotected sex with a partner. Patterns of unprotected sex do place one at a higher risk of STDs, which can include the HPV strain that does increase the risk of cervical cancer. In addition, developing genital warts does not mean the woman has not also contracted the cancer-causing strain.

Human papillomavirus is passed through sexual contact with an infected partner. It can be passed with anal or vaginal sex and does not always display symptoms. It is often diagnosed during a routine physical examination, during which the physician looks for cervical cancer and warts. A vaccine that protects women from several forms of HPV, including the strain that causes genital warts and the strain that causes cervical cancer, is available in many regions. The US Centers for Disease Control recommends girls 11 to 12 years old receive the three series of vaccines.



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