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And for those who think beauty is only skin deep....

Should warts be treated? A January 5 news release by the American Academy of Dermatology reported that this question was asked of dermatologists attending its annual meeting in December.

Warts are currently being treated by freezing, electrocautery, surgery, laser removal, or drugs such as podophyllin, interferon, or trichloroacetic acid. All work, it seems--but 10 to 65 percent of patients thus treated have recurrences.

Warts are triggered by 60 known varieties of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and can be contagious. Of particular concern to dermatologists are genital warts, which have become extremely common among sexually active adults. Because they are often associated with cervical cancers in women, patients with genital warts should be carefully monitored with Pap smears for the development of such cancers.

Warts are known to disappear spontaneously in many persons--therefore the supposed merit of many "old wives' tales" of cures, such as the well-known one in Tom Sawyer. Nonetheless, the dermatologists at the December meeting responded to the original question by stating that warts should probably be treated for the patient's peace of mind until the therapy becomes more onerous than the disease. Patients also should be advised, they said, that warts can be transmitted to others, through sexual contact (and at birth, if the mother has genital warts) or through contact with books, clothing, or other objects that shelter the live virus.
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Title Annotation:treating warts
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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