Oral florid papillomatosis, also known as oral verrucous carcinoma, is a type of oral cancer. Here are five things you need to know about it.
What are the signs of oral florid papillomatosis?
If you have oral florid papillomatosis, you'll notice a white lesion inside your mouth. This lesion is painless, thick, and lumpy; its appearance has been likened to a cauliflower. The lesion grows slowly, so you may not realize that it's getting larger.
Generally, this lesion forms on the buccal mucosa, the tissue that lines the insides of your cheeks. The next most common locations are the floor of the mouth, the gums, and the tongue.
What are the risk factors?
The causes of oral florid papillomatosis still aren't well understood. Researchers think that human papillomavirus may play a role in its development, and smoking may also be a cause. Other factors that have been suggested as possible causes include poor oral hygiene, drinking alcohol, and using smokeless tobacco such as chewing tobacco.
How is it treated?
This cancer is treated with surgical excision. Your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon or an oncologist to have this procedure done. The entire lesion as well as a margin of healthy tissue will be removed. Recurrence rates as high as 68% have been reported with surgical treatment alone, so you may also need adjunct treatments such as radiation therapy.
What is the survival rate?
The five-year survival rate for people with oral florid papillomatosis is 77.9%. Like other types of cancer, your odds of survival are better if you are diagnosed and treated early, before the cancer can grow or spread. If you seek treatment right away, it's more likely that your treatment will be successful, so don't wait to see your dentist.
How common is oral florid papillomatosis?
Oral florid papillomatosis is a very rare type of cancer. Its annual incidence is between one and three people per million. Given the current United States population, it can be assumed that between 320 and 960 Americans will be diagnosed with it this year.
Multiple studies have shown that this cancer is more common among males than females: sixty percent of patients are men. Generally, this cancer affects people who are middle-aged or older.
If you notice a lumpy, white lesion inside your mouth, bring it to your dentist's attention immediately. The lesion could be oral florid papillomatosis, a serious, yet treatable type of oral cancer.