Can a papilloma develop into cancer? Malignant or benign?


Papillomas are mostly benign neoplasms of viral etiology. Science knows more than 100 types of HPV (human papillomavirus), some of which can degenerate into cancer. Pathological growths are localized on any part of the body, including the mucous membranes and genitals.

Benign papilloma is an absolutely harmless neoplasm from a medical point of view. Often people tend to get rid of it due to aesthetic discomfort. But a malignant papilloma requires immediate removal, since delay can cost the patient's life. Let's see which strains of the virus are prone to malignancy.

HPV types

Papillomatosis is a common disease – more than 70% of Russians are carriers of infection, however, not everyone may have external manifestations of the pathology. Often, after infection, the virus is latently present in the body for a long time (“in sleep mode”) and only when conditions favorable for it are created, it begins active life activity. As a result of such activation, papilloma, condyloma or wart may appear.Can a papilloma develop into cancer? Malignant or benign?

In completely healthy people, the immune system is able to suppress the cells of the virus, therefore, sometimes throughout their lives they are only carriers of HPV, without visible manifestations of the disease.


Since it is impossible to determine the type of infection and the degree of risk on its own, so that the papilloma does not go into cancer, it is impossible to ignore the signs of the disease, consult a doctor and undergo a diagnosis.

HPV is divided into three main groups:

  • Non-oncogenic neoplasms – strains 6, 42, 43, 44 never turn into cancer;
  • A moderate degree of oncogenic risk is serotypes 31, 33, 35, 51, 52, 58;
  • Oncogenic or carcinogenic papillomas (high risk of malignancy) are strains 16, 18, 36, 45.

Malignant papilloma develops gradually over several months or even years. When the oncogenic DNA of the virus enters the body, they are embedded in the nucleus of a healthy cell, provoke a mutation, the result is a tumor of a malignant nature.

Knowing how the virus is transmitted, you can protect yourself from infection, and accordingly reduce the risk of malignant papilloma.

Virus Transmission Routes

HPV can be infected in several ways.

  1. With sexual contact – pathogenic DNA is present not only in the sperm and genital secretions of the partner, but also in saliva, urine. Remember – in this case, a condom is not a reliable contraceptive, the virus cells can penetrate even through the pores of the latex.
  2. In domestic conditions – HPV remains on the personal items of an infected person. Tactile contact can also cause infection.
  3. Public places – a warm, humid environment is a favorable condition for the reproduction and vital functions of human papillomavirus – these are baths, saunas, pools and even open water bodies.
  4. From mother to child – HPV can be transmitted to the baby while passing through the birth canal (of course, if the woman in labor is infected).

It happens that new papillomas develop as a result of self-infection, this is facilitated by trauma or friction of an existing growth on clothing.

Risk group

There are factors predisposing to the active reproduction of HPV in the human body, these are:

  • Autoimmune, allergic diseases;
  • Dermatological ailments of an inflammatory nature;
  • Heredity;
  • Hormonal imbalance;
  • Uncontrolled antibiotic therapy;
  • Stress, malnutrition;
  • Excessive use of oral contraceptives;
  • Promiscuous sexual intercourse.

In order to respond in a timely manner and prevent the papilloma from degenerating into cancer, the symptoms should be correctly recognized.


After the introduction of the virus, the incubation period can last several months or years. When favorable factors are created, HPV is activated and papillomatosis symptoms may develop, that is, characteristic skin growths appear.Can a papilloma develop into cancer? Malignant or benign?


  1. Simple papilloma – the diameter of the neoplasm is from 1 mm to 2 cm. Often merge into groups, forming a single conglomerate, are round or on the leg, the shade varies from flesh to dark brown. They are localized on the surface of the skin, the risk of conversion to cancerous tumors is minimal;
  2. Genital genital warts – resembles a crest of a rooster or cauliflower. In this case, itching, burning, swelling, bleeding, slight soreness during sexual intimacy is possible. Such a neoplasm is more likely to degenerate into a malignant tumor;
  3. Flat genital warts – localized on the cervix, signals a chronic active HPV course. These are papillomas of high oncogenic risk and it is impossible to delay with their removal.


By removing malignant papilloma at an early stage, you prevent metastasis and increase your chances of a full recovery.

The most oncogenic are HPV types 16, 18, 36, 45, 70 – the infection affects the mucous membranes of the oral cavity, genitals, and anus. The presence of 56 and 66 strains in the body of the virus increases the risk of developing melanoma, carcinoma (a type of malignant skin tumor).

However, the presence of infection does not mean cancer. Of course, the degree of risk increases, but regular medical monitoring, preventive measures will help suppress the disease even at the precancerous stage and prevent the oncological process.

Papilloma or melanoma – signs of malignancy

The pathological growth that appeared on the body initially does not cause any discomfort. Further, if the neoplasm provoked an oncogenic strain of the virus, it will begin to change, degenerating into melanoma.Cancer Papilloma

How malignant papilloma looks on the body can be judged by the following signs:

  • Color change (most often from light to dark);
  • Around the growth a white halo formed or, on the contrary, redness (inflammation);
  • The borders of the papillomas are blurred;
  • Intensive growth is observed;
  • Unpleasant sensations appeared (for example, itching, burning, pain on palpation);
  • Cracking of the surface of the neoplasm;
  • Exudation, bleeding

Of course, to determine the diagnosis, the doctor should examine the site of the lesion and prescribe the necessary studies if cancer is suspected. This is the only way to establish the type of virus and prescribe the most effective treatment.


If you find at least one of the above signs, do not hesitate, consult a doctor.

Papilloma and cancer – HPV of the genital organs

According to statistics, the presence of carcinogenic strains of the virus increases the development of oncology by more than 50%, however, as a result, only 10% of women degenerate into a malignant papilloma tumor, in other cases condylomatosis has a reverse development.

You should not rely on statistics, since it has been established that cervical cancer takes 3rd place among all oncological diseases.

HPV No. 16, 18 most often provokes genital papillomas of high oncogenic risk, while more than 80% of people who have undergone complex therapy for 2 years have completely recovered.

Malignancy of genital warts may indicate:

  • Persistent pain syndrome;
  • Inflammatory process;
  • Suppuration, bleeding neoplasms;
  • Fast growth;
  • Abundant, foul smell discharge.

A precancerous condition on the background of condylomatosis is cervical dysplasia, if a pathology is detected, treatment cannot be delayed, urgent complex therapy is necessary. But first, the doctor must conduct a full diagnosis of the disease.

Diagnosis and treatment methods

An urgent treatment requires a high-risk oncogenic type papilloma, especially if there are multiple rashes on the skin or in the genital area.Can a papilloma develop into cancer? Malignant or benign?

Initially, the doctor conducts a visual examination and palpation of the affected area. If the growths are localized on the genitals, women need to undergo a gynecological, and for men urological examination, a material is taken, a smear or scraping is performed to detect STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).

Colposcopy, urethroscopy, biopsy are also performed, blood, urine is taken.

The most accurate results are obtained by PCR diagnostics (allows you to identify the type of virus) and Digene-test (at the DNA level, the concentration of HPV, as well as its serotype).

If the studies have confirmed the presence of malignant cells, surgical treatment is prescribed – radio wave, laser removal or surgical excision of growths.

If neoplasms of a benign nature, cryodestruction or electrocoagulation can be used. With a single lesion, medications of necrotizing effect can be used.

In addition to mechanical removal, patients should undergo antiviral and immunostimulating therapy.

Removal methods

  1. Cryodestruction. This method is applicable to relatively small papillomas of a benign nature. The neoplasm is treated with liquid nitrogen, while unpleasant sensations (burning, tingling) are possible. Exposure to critically low temperatures destroys lipid-protein structures, stops the nutrition of pathological tissues as a result, the growth dies out.
  2. Papilloma burning variable or constant frequency (electrocoagulation) allows you to remove small neoplasms without signs of malignancy. The procedure is painful, so anesthesia is required. The plus of the technique is that coagulation of blood vessels occurs simultaneously, this minimizes the risk of infection.
  3. Laser destruction. The procedure has no restrictions – remove both malignant and benign growths of any size and localization. The laser acts pointless without affecting healthy tissue. Depth of exposure is regulated by the doctor. The risk of infection is minimal. After removal, subtle traces remain that disappear over time.Laser removal of papillomas
  4. Radio wave surgery. This technique is most often used relative to genital papillomas. Radio waves evaporate the intracellular fluid, as a result of which the neoplasm itself dries up and dies. The resulting biomaterial is sent for histology. After removal of growths from the cervix, recovery takes place within 1 month.
  5. Surgical excision. This technique is rarely used, only in emergency cases (large-scale lesion or deep oncological process). All manipulations are performed under general anesthesia. They remove not only pathological tissue, but also capture several millimeters of healthy skin around. There is a risk of infection, bleeding. A long recovery period with regular dressing of the site of exposure.

Along with the apparent resolution of the problem, it is necessary to suppress the activity of the virus from the inside, for this the doctor prescribes the use of antiviral drugs, for example, Isoprinosine, Acyclovir, Genferon, and others. It is also recommended to take immunomodulators – interferon preparations.

With single rashes on the skin, you can cope on your own, using substances of necrotic effect, but before using them, a doctor's consultation is required.


You can use aggressive chemical components only when confirming the benign nature of the papilloma, malignant neoplasms in this way are contraindicated.


Use necrotizing agents strictly according to the instructions, apply exclusively to the papilloma in order to avoid injuries (burns) of healthy skin areas.

  • Feresol is an oily liquid with a specific odor. Several pinpoint moxibustion is necessary, after which the growth darkens, dries and dies.
  • Verrucacid – applied pointwise, usually 5 local moxibustion with an interval of several minutes.
  • Cryopharma is an analogue of cryotherapy. The papilloma treated with the drug freezes and is gradually rejected.Cryopharma
  • Superchistotel – used to remove benign skin tumors. Apply locally until the growth completely disappears.

Also, for the independent treatment, the drug Solcoderm, Podophyllin, Condilin and other aggressive substances are used.


  1. Since oncogenic strains of the virus are most often transmitted sexually, the first thing to do to avoid infection is to streamline your sexual contacts.
  2. If the infection did occur, you should undergo a full examination to identify the type of virus, and then conduct regular medical monitoring. Such control will prevent a possible malignancy of papilloma.
  3. Moderate physical activity, a balanced diet, vitamins will help strengthen the immune system and, in case of virus penetration, overcome its aggressive effect.
  4. Avoid close contact with an infected person, do not use other people's hygiene products, treat all infectious diseases in a timely manner.

You can also prevent HPV infection by vaccination, using the drugs Cervarix and Gardasil, which minimize the risk of developing malignant neoplasms of the genital organs.

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