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Leukoplakia. Close-up of a white leukoplakia patch on the side of a man's tongue. This growth disorder can occur in the mouth or vulva, and is caused by thickening of tissue in the mucous membrane. It can be triggered by tobacco, trauma, candidiasis, dental malocclusion and vitamin deficiencies. It is most common in the elderly and people with AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). The patches are painless and usually disappear if the cause is removed. Occasionally, however, a leukoplakia patch can become cancerous. For this reason the condition is sometimes treated by surgical excision under local anaesthetic.
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