If you’ve noticed a new bump or growth on your skin, it can be concerning. Your mind may quickly jump to the possibility of it being cancerous, but it’s important to understand the differences between skin cancer and common skin growths like warts and skin tags. Additionally, understanding your resources and how to identify the right treatment option for different types of skin cancer will help you to more effectively fight the disease should you find that you have it.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to identify a wart vs skin cancer and how to take control of your health and wellness.
What Are Warts?
Warts are common skin growths caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. There are over 40 different types of HPV, and they can be transmitted through direct or indirect contact.5 Warts can appear on any area of the body and vary in appearance depending on their location and the thickness of the skin. In comparison to skin cancer, warts are benign and typically do not spread. It is important to differentiate between warts and skin cancer as early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve outcomes.
What Are Symptoms of Warts?
There are several types of warts, including common warts, flat warts, pigmented warts, and plantar warts.
Common warts are raised bumps that are usually found on the hands, fingers, or elbows. They can cause pain and are sometimes prone to bleeding. Flat warts, on the other hand, are small, dark, and slightly raised lesions that can appear anywhere on the body. Plantar warts are hard and occur on the ball of the heel of the foot, causing discomfort. Oropharyngeal warts can be found on the tongue, cheek, or oral surfaces, and should be checked to determine if they are oral cancer, canker sores, or warts.
Warts can disappear on their own within 1 to 5 years without any treatment. However, if they are large or found in sensitive areas, wart treatments include salicylic acid, cryotherapy, duct tape, surgery, electrocautery, laser treatment, photodynamic therapy, chemical treatments, topical creams, cantharidin, and antigen shots.
While most warts are benign, certain strains of HPV can lead to warts in or around the genital area, which can potentially lead to certain types of cancer, such as cervical cancer. For this reason, it’s suggested that anyone who discovers genital warts should see a doctor for an assessment. To reduce the risk of catching or spreading warts, avoid touching other people’s warts, sharing personal items, scratching warts, or biting fingernails if warts are nearby. Wear sandals when you’re entering or leaving communal showers and pools.
If you are still having trouble deciphering whether or not your skin condition is cancerous, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider or talk to your dermatologist for further examination.
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells, which can be caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or indoor tanning beds. Skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body, but it is most common in areas that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, arms, and legs.
There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common and least dangerous type of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma is less common than basal cell carcinoma but is more dangerous. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and can quickly.
When it comes to skin cancer, one of the most important tools we like to share is to spread the word of the ABCDE rule. This rule will help you stay alert for some of the common signs and symptoms of malignant melanoma. The first signs of melanoma usually present themselves in existing skin moles. So whether you’re analyzing a wart, a mole, or anything else related to the skin, keep the ABCDE rule in mind and perform a monthly self check-up. 3
- Asymmetry: If one part of the mole or mark doesn’t match the other, this is a cause for concern.
- Border: If the edges of the marking are notched or irregular, this is a warning sign.
- Color: Keep track of whether or not the color is not the same all over and includes shades of brown or black with irregularities in the color of pink, red, white, or blue.
- Diameter: Take note if the spot is bigger than a pencil eraser – or larger than about 1/4 inch across.
- Evolving: Notice if the mole is changing in shape, size, or color.
It is important to protect your skin from overexposure to the sun in order to reduce the chances of developing skin cancer. Be sure to wear sunscreen every day, avoid going outside during the strongest hours of sunlight, steer clear of tanning beds, and choose hats with broad brims for optimal protection.
Skin Cancer That Looks Like A Wart
Skin cancer can sometimes look like a wart, making it difficult to differentiate between the two conditions. Skin cancer surgery is a common treatment option for removing cancerous growths and is often highly effective when performed early. Warts are caused by viruses and are typically non-cancerous, while skin cancer can be cancerous and requires medical attention. It is important to be able to differentiate between the two conditions in order to seek appropriate medical treatment.
While warts tend to be harmless, it’s crucial to note that skin cancer takes on many different forms. Abnormal looking skin moles, freckles, and warts can often be skin cancer in disguise, so it’s important to know how to tell if a wart is cancerous.2
Wart vs Cancer: Learn the Differences
After basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It occurs when the squamous cells of the epidermis, the uppermost layer of the skin, begin to grow uncontrollably. Symptoms of this particular type of cancer may include the development of a wart-like growth. It is important to note that skin cancer can be distinguished from warts, as it will often bleed or crust.
Squamous cell carcinoma is likely to initially appear as a scaly, red patch of skin. It may evolve into a sore or a solid, red bump that will not subside. It is not uncommon for the lesion to cause itching or burning, and it tends to appear in sun-exposed regions such as the face, ears, lips, arms, legs, and the back of the hands. Fortunately, if the condition is identified in its early stages, it can be managed with great success.
If you have a bump that persists, especially if it crusts or bleeds, it’s time to see the doctor for a diagnosis so you can be treated. As we like to say – when in doubt, get it checked out. A doctor can perform a biopsy to let you know if it’s a wart, skin tag, or skin cancer. Early detection of identifying skin cancer can reduce potential risk factors later on. After diagnosis, there are several treatment options, ranging from laser cancer treatment to whole-body hypothermia.
Prevention and Treatment: Natural Options for Wart Removal
To keep warts at bay, taking preventative measures is essential as they can be contagious. It is important to seek medical advice to confirm whether or not your growth is a wart vs. skin cancer. After you have made sure that it is in fact a wart, you might be interested in exploring some skin cancer natural treatment options for wart removal. Understandably, HPV and visible warts can cause embarrassment for many, but it is important to note that you are not alone – it is estimated that 1 in 4 people in the US are living with HPV.
Here are some natural options for wart removal that have shown promising results.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil (or Melaleuca alternifolia) has antimicrobial and exfoliating properties. In a small study, it was found that topical wart treatments with tea tree oil reduce warts.
- Apple cider vinegar: A popular wart removal treatment with apple cider vinegar calls for soaking a cotton ball in the vinegar and applying it to the skin before bedtime. Protect the wart and keep the cotton ball in place by using a piece of tape or a bandage. Remember that apple cider vinegar is acidic and can cause irritation in some people.
- Echinacea: Also called the purple coneflower, it’s been shown that taking echinacea as an oral supplement or tea can help reduce the incidence of a stubborn wart.
- Ficus carica: In study participants, a latex from this type of fig tree helped to reduce the occurrence of warts.
- Garlic ointments: Garlic ointments have been shown to reduce warts when applied topically.
What to Do Next
Understanding the signs of cancerous warts or skin tags is the first stage of the process. If you’ve visited your doctor and have received a diagnosis, the next step is to consider whether surgical services are required or if you’re interested in a skin cancer alternative treatment plan.
At ImmunityTherapy Center, we specialize in alternative cancer treatments to assist you in combating your battle with cancer. Our skin cancer natural treatment program is designed to stimulate your immune system so that it can help fight cancer cells. We combine diet with natural, non-invasive therapies that will work against your cancer cells’ weaknesses.
Always remember that the next best step is to stay hopeful. If you have questions or are interested in learning more about natural remedies for skin cancer or what we do, feel free to reach out to the Immunity Therapy Center today. With a dedicated and enthusiastic staff, we’ll be happy to welcome you into our holistic cancer treatment center with a program that is 100% customized and personalized.
For now, be sure to check your warts, consult your doctor, and remember that the Immunity Therapy Center is here to help keep you informed.
Written By: Dr. David Alvarez
Dr. David Alvarez is a Board Certified Medical Doctor from Universidad Xochicalco and Certified by the American Heart Association (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support).
Dr. Alvarez has been collaborating with Dr. Bautista as an Assistant Medical Director at the Immunity Therapy Center for over 6 years. He provides daily on site patient care and participates on the medical board on research and development of patient treatment plans and programs. Dr. Alvarez is a knowledgeable and compassionate Doctor committed to helping patients get to where they want to be health wise through a more holistic and comprehensive approach.
- How to Treat a Wart. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155039#prevention
- Skin Cancer That Looks Like Warts. Skinvision. https://www.skinvision.com/library/skin-cancer-that-looks-like-a-wart/
- How to Spot Skin Cancer. Cancer. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/how-to-spot-skin-cancer.html
- Basic Information About Skin Cancer. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/index.htm
- Warts. Harvard health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/warts-a-to-z
- What Are My Treatment Options for HPV? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/sexually-transmitted-diseases/hpv-natural-treatment#symptoms
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.