There is no direct treatment is available to eradicate high-risk HPV infections. However, certain medicines and procedures can reduce precancerous cervical cell changes and other symptoms associated with precancerous cell growth.
For instance, a woman with precancerous cervical cell changes must undergo a loop electrosurgical excision to remove the cervical tissue containing abnormal cell growth. But if an infected person experiences precancerous genital warts or lesions on their anus, penis, vagina, or vulva, they would need topical medicines, cryosurgery, laser therapy, or surgical excision to remove them. HPV-based cancers require similar treatment as any cancerous tumor. The only exception is if a person has HPV-based oropharyngeal cancer because their treatment would differ from those with non-HPV-based oropharyngeal cancer.
The Link Between HPV and Cancer
The reason an HPV infection may lead to cancer is that it causes abnormal cell changes to occur in areas like the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus, and penis. This abnormal cell growth will lead to cancer unless treatment is administered quickly.
High-risk HPV infections are worse because they affect the way cells interact with each other. So if these abnormal cells multiply too much, precancerous cells may form in the infected area.
Low-risk HPV infections usually do not lead to precancerous cell growth because the infected person’s immune system will stop the abnormal cell growth without outside treatment needed. But if the immune system cannot stop it, treatment is the only option for precancerous cells.
It takes at least one or two decades for a cancerous tumor to develop from HPV-infected cervical cells. If the infection is from a high-risk HPV strain like HPV 16 and 18, you need to know as soon as possible to receive the proper treatment to control it. That is why seeing a doctor regularly for diagnostic testing, such as a colposcopy, is imperative. Then you can learn the best ways to treat it.
Your doctor’s initial advice will be to quit smoking cigarettes if you smoke and stop taking immunosuppressant medications.