Treatment of leukoplakia:
For majority of patients, stopping of smoking or Tobacco use in any form and abstinence from alcohol usually clears the patch of Leukoplakia. However, if stopping of tobacco use do not clear the leukoplakia patches or if there is early signs of cancer in the patch or its adjoining areas, your doctor/dentist may recommend the following,
- Remove leukoplakia patch by surgical excision, removal by laser or removal by using cryoprobe (which is an extremely cold probe that freezes the cells and destroy them). Follow up visit should be done at specific interval, because recurrence is common and should be detected at the earliest. Self inspection of mouth is also equally important to detect the patch recurrence at the earliest and initiation of proper management.
Treatment for leukoplakia by surgical removal should be undertaken at the early stage when the patch is still small.
For hairy cell leukoplakia, usually treatment is not required. Because this type usually do not become cancerous and also it is commonly due to other underlying medical condition where immunity become weak, such as HIV/AIDS. Treatment of underlying cause, however, is recommended.
How to prevent leukoplakia?
The exact cause of leukoplakia is not clearly known. However, tobacco use in any for and alcohol consumption are shown to have strong relation in causation od leukoplakia. Hence, prevention may be possible by stopping use of tobacco and alcohol.
- To prevent leukoplakia, it is important to stop using all type of tobacco products. Stop using tobacco in any form, such as smoking (cigarettes, cigars, hookah, and other forms of smoking tobacco), chewing tobacco in many different forms as well as sniffing tobacco products. However, it is easier said than done, for stopping tobacco use. Talk to your family, friends and doctor about the need and ways to quit tobacco use.
- Stop or limit drinking alcohol to a drink or two a day at the most. Alcohol consumption (especially excess alcohol consumption) can cause leukoplakia as well as oral cancer, hence; need to be stopped or limited to recommended level.
Another important point to remember is that combined use of tobacco (such as smoking or chewing tobacco) and high alcohol intake can increase risk of leukoplakia to several fold and both need to be stopped if one is using both.
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