Vocal Cord Leukoplakia
Leukoplakia refers to a white lesion or ulcer on the vocal cord. Leukoplakia can be pre-cancerous or even cancerous. Leukoplakia disrupts the vibration cycle of the vocal cords and thus leads to a hoarse voice. It is caused by irritants to the vocal cords, primarily tobacco smoke, but can also occur from exposure to acid reflux from the stomach.
A biopsy is usually necessary to determine if the lesion is cancerous. If the lesion is not cancerous, close follow-up examination is helpful to monitor for any changes.