Also Known as Tree man syndrome, epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV) is a rare genetic disorder putting the patient to high risk of skin cancer. It is known as Tree Man because when the condition occurs, the virus spreads around the body to create tree-like growth. Our body has over 100 strains of HPV but if the human body has a genetic mutation that affects the ability to handle HPV negatively, it results in Tree man Disease.
Recently, the news about a man with epidermodysplasia verruciformis seeking help from doctors to amputate his affected hands went viral. He was undergoing extreme and unbearable pain and wasn’t able to afford better treatment. He was treated earlier but the condition returned bigger and faster. Now, in order to seek treatment outside Bangladesh required enormous funds which he didn’t have. This is when the Prime minister of Bangladesh offered him free treatment. Most of us till the video went viral, weren’t even aware of a condition like this one. The sad news is that it is a condition one needs to live with as it is for life. Even if treatment is provided by the removal of the existing lesions, it returns again. Furthermore, 50% of the people suffering from this condition can get skin cancer at the age of around 40-50 years.
As on day, there is no cure for the condition so immediate treatment becomes very important. The condition does involve a surgery called curettage. The term is derived from the device called curette used in the surgery. The device is spoon-shaped and the lesion is scraped off with the help of this device in order to preserve the skin underneath. The EV warts are treated using traditional methods of treating warts like ointments, chemical treatments, and cryotherapy.
The symptoms are generally visible around the early years of 5 to 11. The symptoms include beginning on flat lesions on skin areas that are exposed to sunlight and even scab-like lesions, papules, plaques or bumpy lesions. The lesions can occur across the body including hands, legs, armpits, and more. The growth could be less limited to a small cluster of warts or aggravate to over 100 warts across the body too. The diagnosis is tricky as the doctor requires the medical history of the patient in order to understand the symptoms. The diagnosis involves a physical examination of skin and biopsy procedure if the doctor suspects it.
Living with Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis could affect the quality of life of a person suffering from the condition if it aggravates as it could get painful too. As a part of care with EV, limiting exposure to the sun is very important as a skin cancer risk is high. So, if you know someone in your relative or family with this disease, then it’s advisable that you visit your doctor for a checkup.