Medical Q&As

Mouth cancer - could it be?

I went to the dentist a few days ago. She told me I had some abnormal cells under my tongue. She told me it could be the beginning of mouth cancer. Please tell me if this is possible? I am a smoker in my thirties.

This sounds like leukoplakia, which is the technical term to describe a white patch in the mouth that cannot be rubbed or scraped off. The lesion is benign but a tiny portion of these cases can progress over time and develop into mouth cancer but I stress that over 95% of these lesions do not progress so. There is a strong association between cigarette smoking and leukoplakia. The lesion can be removed by a minor surgical procedure or by laser. In some cases the lesions can recur despite removal. If the changes are very minor it is perfectly reasonable to do nothing for the present. It might be appropriate to print off this answer and bring it with you when you next visit your dentist. I am giving this answer on the basis of limited information and do not wish to point you in the wrong direction.