Skin Cancer Where The Sun Don’t Shine

HPV Can Cause Skin Cancer

Not all skin cancers are from sun exposure. Viruses such as human papilloma virus (HPV), the virus that causes genital warts, also cause skin cancer. Skin cancer from HPV develops on genital skin in both men and women. It is rarely talked about, but it’s important and can be deadly.

Did you know that half of all deaths from skin cancer other than melanoma are from genital skin cancer? You probably also didn’t know that women are more likely to die from genital skin cancer as they are from skin cancer that developed from sun exposure (again, excluding melanoma).

We dermatologists are inexhaustible when it comes to warning people about the dangers of sun exposure, but we should also be warning people about the dangers of genital warts. HPV protection, which includes HPV vaccines, is as important as sun protection in preventing death from non-melanoma skin cancer.

Genital warts can lead to deadly skin cancer. If your dermatologist has not checked your genital skin, then be sure your primary care physician or gynecologist does. This is especially important, because unlike other STDs which often have symptoms, HPV or genital warts often don’t. It may be embarrassing, but it could save your life.

Photo: practical owl, flickr.

6 thoughts on “Skin Cancer Where The Sun Don’t Shine

  1. You’ve done a huge service to remind readers about HPV associated skin cancers. I’ve seen so many patients with them on the upper thighs, the buttocks and in the groin too.

  2. Yikes. I did not know this. I agree with peachy. Thanks for sharing and reinforcing the importance of HPV vaccinations. Wishing you a happy new year! I just started following along and look forward to your posts in 2011.

  3. Thank you so much for this post on HPV and skin cancer. Please inform also on the fact that NOT all vaccinations will protect from the strenths of HPV, the fear would be that people will assume they are protected completely.
    I had a family member who went through the class 4 HPV virus and underwent the usual step by step process to clear. Although as we know the virus will always be there.
    Thank you for the educational post!
    Best regards,
    Marina Arnold

  4. Hello, I didn’t know this form of skin cancer, If someone has HPV virus, is it safe or recommended to take the HPV vaccine anyway? thank you

  5. I think people don’t usually think of genital skin (vulva, penis) as skin, but as part of distinct organs and the territory of gynecology and urology rather than dermatology.

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