Dysplasia is often conceptualised as being a progression from mild to moderate to severe to invasive cancer. The reality is a little more complicated than this and areas of dysplasia do not necessarily progress in this way.
It is however generally accepted that moderate – severe dysplasias present a significant risk of progressing to full blown oral cancers.
Viewed another way, a diagnosis of dysplasia represents a window of opportunity to intervene and potentially halt the progression to cancer.
It is for these reasons that it is recommended that you see an appropriately trained specialist, and at the Head + Neck Surgery London you are in safe hands. Our consultants have laser certification and perform around 100 laser excisions of dysplasias per year.
Around 50% of mouth cancers are felt to arise from potentially malignant lesions such as dysplasia.
Dysplasias are graded by the pathologists as either mild, moderate or severe and this has some relevance to risk of malignant transformation (progression to a cancer).
Approximate risk of malignant transformation
Less than 5% for mild dysplasias.
3-15% for moderate dysplasias.
For severe dysplasias, the risk is overall around 16%, though the range found in medical literature is 7-50%.