Leukoplakia - Symptom
Hairy leukoplakia; Smoker's keratosis; Vulvar leukoplakia
Sores usually develop on the tongue, but they may also appear on the insides of the cheek, or on the outer femal genitals. The most common symptoms of hairy leukoplakia are painless, fuzzy white patches on the side of the tongue.
The sores are:
- Usually white or gray
- Sometimes red (called erythroplakia, a condition that can lead to cancer)
- Thick and slightly raised with a hard surface that can't be easily scraped off
Signs and tests:
The typical white patch of leukoplakia develops slowly, over weeks to months. The lesion may eventually become rough in texture, and may become sensitive to touch, heat, spicy foods, or other irritation.
A biopsy of the lesion confirms the diagnosis. An examination of the biopsy specimen may find changes that indicate oral cancer.
- Reviewed last on: 7/20/2011
- David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Sciubba JJ. Oral mucosal lesions. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 91.
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