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Leukoplakia, or white keratosis, is a precancerous condition of the skin. This means that skin cancer can develop on its basis. What are the causes and symptoms of white keratosis? What is the treatment? What is the risk of leukoplakia turning into a malignant tumor?

Leukoplakia , i.e.white keratosis , is a precancerous condition of the skin. This means that after variously long periods of time, malignantskin cancersmay develop on the basis of white keratosis. According to some researchers, 4-6 percent. all leukoplakia develop into squamous cell carcinoma in about 5 years. The places particularly susceptible to neoplastic transformation are the floor of the mouth, the lower and side surfaces of the tongue, the soft palate and the uvula. Leukoplakia can also develop within the external genitalia.

Leukoplakia (white keratosis) - causes

The reason for the development of this type of changes in the oral cavity may be smoking, drinking alcohol, poor hygiene, tooth decay, poorly fitting dentures. Syphilis, vitamin deficiencies, galvanic currents, chronic injuries, and oral candidiasis are also important in the development of leukoplakia.

The cause of changes on the mucous membranes of the external genitalia may be hormonal disorders, cirrhosis of the vulva or glans, as well as poor hygiene. Changes on the external genitalia most often affect the labia majora and minor in women, the inner surface of the foreskin and the glans penis in men.

Leukoplakia (white keratosis) - symptoms. What does white keratosis look like?

Leukoplakia are changes that:

  • are white spots
  • have a smooth or wavy, or grooved or lumpy surface
  • not mechanically removable
  • they are most often located on the mucous membranes of the cheeks, near the corners of the mouth and in the bite line of the teeth, on the gums, tongue, upper and lower lips, as well as in the area of ​​the external genitalia
  • accompanying symptoms may be a feeling of dryness and tightening of the mucous membranes, as well as burning if there are deeper cracks.

A symptom of transition to a neoplastic state are papillary, irregularly delimited growths, a characteristic borderinflammation around the lesion and subsequent ulceration.

Leukoplakia (white keratosis) - diagnosis

A fragment of the lesion is cut for histopathological examination, which will confirm or rule out leukoplakia.

Leukoplakia (white keratosis) - treatment

If the lesions are limited, it is recommended to excise them with high-energy lasers, as well as using cryosurgery and, less frequently, electrocoagulation. Some centers use photodynamic therapy - PDT.

It is also important to eliminate possible factors that increase the risk of developing leukoplakia (e.g. quitting smoking).

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