What causes leukoplakia to develop?
Although the cause of leukoplakia is unknown, chronic irritation, such as from tobacco use, including smoking and chewing, appears to be responsible for most cases. Often, regular users of smokeless tobacco products eventually develop leukoplakia where they hold the tobacco against their cheeks.
Is it normal to have leukoplakia?
Leukoplakia patches can occur at any time in your life, but it is most common in senior adults. “Hairy” leukoplakia of the mouth is an unusual form of leukoplakia (caused by the Epstein-Barr virus) that only happens in people who are infected with HIV, have AIDS, or AIDS-related complex.
Does leukoplakia mean cancer?
Most cases of leukoplakia do not turn into cancer. But some leukoplakias are either cancer when first found or have pre-cancer changes that can turn into cancer if not properly treated.
Does HPV cause leukoplakia?
Although there appears to be some link between human papillomavirus (HPV) and oral leukoplakia, there is little evidence to support a causal relationship either between HPV infection and oral leukoplakia or between HPV-infected leukoplakic keratinocytes and their carcinomatous transformation.
Can leukoplakia heal itself?
In most cases, leukoplakia will go away on its own and doesn’t require treatment. Just make sure to avoid any triggers, such as smoking. If the biopsy came positive for oral cancer, then the doctors will remove the patches immediately to stop the cancer from spreading.
Does leukoplakia spread fast?
Nearly all cases will eventually become cancerous at a number of different sites. PVL is usually diagnosed late in the development of leukoplakia, as it takes time to spread to multiple sites. It also has a high rate of recurrence.
How long before leukoplakia turns to cancer?
Leukoplakia is different from other causes of white patches such as thrush or lichen planus because it can eventually develop into oral cancer. Within 15 years, about 3% to 17.5% of people with leukoplakia will develop squamous cell carcinoma, a common type of skin cancer.
How do you prevent leukoplakia?
How can leukoplakia be prevented?
- Stop smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Reduce alcohol use.
- Eat antioxidant-rich foods such as spinach and carrots. Antioxidants may help deactivate irritants that cause patches.
What removes leukoplakia?
Removal of leukoplakia patches. Patches may be removed using a scalpel, a laser or an extremely cold probe that freezes and destroys cancer cells (cryoprobe).
Should I have leukoplakia removed?
Usually, you don’t need treatment for hairy leukoplakia. The condition often causes no symptoms and isn’t likely to lead to mouth cancer. If your doctor recommends treatment, it may include: Medication.