HPV is a virus that causes warts. There are many types of HPV.
Some of the types of HPV that cause genital warts also cause cancer.
The cancer you get from HPV occurs in the part of your body where the infection is. So if the infection is on your cervix (the lower part of your uterus that opens in to your vagina), you may get cervical cancer Cervical Cancer Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of (opening to) your uterus (womb). It connects your uterus with your vagina. Cervical cancer is usually caused by HPV ... read more . If the infection is in your throat, you may get throat cancer Mouth and Throat Cancer Mouth and throat cancer is cancer that starts in or around your mouth or throat. It could affect your lips, tongue, tonsils, the roof of your mouth, inside your cheeks, or the back of the throat... read more .
HPV passes from person to person through touching. You get the types of HPV that cause genital warts by having sexual contact, including oral sex, with an infected person.
People can have an HPV infection without knowing it, so you may not know if the person you're having sex with is infected. You may not know you have an HPV infection because:
Genital warts are small bumps in or around your genital area.
Genital warts are common—8 out of 10 women are infected at least one time by age 50
Warts may appear on your crotch, around your anus, on your penis (men), or inside your vagina (women)
Most infections go away on their own in 1 to 2 years
Infections that don't go away increase the chance of cancer
There are vaccines to prevent most types of genital warts that cause cancer
To test for cancer Overview of Cancer Cancer is the out-of-control growth of cells in your body. Cells are the tiny building blocks of your body. Cells specialize in what they do. For example, your intestines have muscle cells to... read more , your doctor may remove the warts and send them to a laboratory. If warts are on the cervix, your doctor may also do a Pap test. With a Pap test, the doctor collects a sample of cells from your cervix during a pelvic exam for examining under a microscope.
Treatment can be painful or leave scars. If you're healthy, doctors may let genital warts go away on their own.
A vaccine Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps protect against infection by the strains of HPV that are most likely to cause the following: Cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, and vulvar cancer in... read more (given by a shot) can prevent HPV.
Condoms help, but they can’t fully prevent genital warts because skin that is not covered by the condom can be infected by HPV.