The term premalignant (precancerous) lesion has been replaced by the term potentially malignant lesion. Such lesions have as their cause, tobacco use, exposure to the human papilloma virus and the chewing of the betel nut. These substances contain carcinogens. The mucosa of the oral cavity is normally quite robust. Exposure to these substances can cause it to undergo change. These changes are usually initiated as a leukoplakic patch. While some leucoplakic patches recover and resolve, some progress into invasive squamous cell carcinoma. Oral submucus fibrosis is another such potentially malignant condition caused by the abuse of betel nut.
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