A Malaysian woman has developed “ram’s horns” on one of her breasts after an “extremely rare” case of viral warts.
The 63-year-old, who wasn’t identified, told doctors the growths had spontaneously appeared on the left side of her chest two years ago. The Malaysian woman went to the hospital complaining of the horn-like growths that caused her “on and off itchiness”.
According to reports, by the time she went to the hospital they had grown to around 5cm (2inch) in length and had become itchy. The woman was told she had cutaneous horns (CH), which occur due to a build-up of keratin, a protein in hair, skin, and nails. Doctors believe the horns formed as the result of a skin infection after tests ruled out cancer, however, Doctors say “how the lady developed the horns is still a mystery”.
Doctors Remove Horns
Doctors at the Hospital Queen Elizabeth 2, in Kota Kinabalu surgically removed the horns and the patient made a full recovery. The story was revealed in a case report published in a journal, the Annals of Medicine and Surgery.
Doctors, who treated the woman, in the report wrote: “Cutaneous horns usually appear as elongated projections ranging from a couple of millimeters to centimeters”.
“It could also be described as a ram’s horn. It gradually grows over the years. Scans revealed the masses had formed on the surface of the skin and had not spread to the breast tissue itself. There were no signs of inflammation or soreness, which gave the medics confidence it was not cancerous,” the report said.
Doctors performed a bedside excision to remove the horns and sent off samples to be tested for the disease, which came back negative. According to them the patient did not have warts on any other part of her body and was not suffering from other skin conditions.
Writing in her case report, the medics said: “she is in good health and shows no signs of recurrence. Her scar from the biopsy is well healed and does not show any signs of recurrence after follow up for six months”.
Prevalence of Cutaneous not Known
The prevalence of cutaneous horns is not known and the medics described them as “extremely rare”. Causes are not clear but scientists have previously found links to radiation and UV exposure.
Research suggests the most common cause is actinic keratosis, which occurs due to overexposure to UV radiation. However, the most recent case was judged to have been caused by verrucae vulgaris, and viral warts caused by human papillomaviruses (HPV).
Per research, the normally harmless viruses can enter the skin and cause a skin infection that forms warts. The most common location for cutaneous horns is the scalp and upper face, or other areas most exposed to the sun such as the chest, shoulder, and neck. However, they have been found all over the body, including on the male organ, according to research.