The president-elect was hospitalized on Sunday (20) to remove a white plaque on his left vocal fold; understand if it’s serious
President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) was admitted to the Sírio-Libanês Hospital, in São Paulo, on Sunday (20) to undergo a surgical procedure to remove left vocal fold leukoplakia🇧🇷 According to a bulletin released by the press office, the PT candidate was discharged on Monday (21).
Still according to the note, no neoplasm was found, which means that it wasn’t cancer and, yes, from just a lesion in the mucosa. In his social networks, Lula wrote that “everything is resolved and well”. In 2011, the president-elect treated a tumor, about three centimeters long, located in the larynx, above the supraglottis. But after medical evaluation, the tumor is in “complete remission”.
What is vocal cord leukoplakia and what causes it?
Vocal fold leukoplakia is the name given to a injury that arises on the vocal cords🇧🇷 “This lesion can be benign or be considered pre-malignant, depending on the type. In some cases, it may even indicate early-stage cancer,” explains Domingos Hiroshi Tsuji, otorhinolaryngologist in charge of the Voice Center at Hospital Paulista.
There are different causes for the appearance of leukoplakia in the vocal fold, depending on its type, as explained by the specialist doctor. “First, it could be dysplasia, which is a transformation of the cells, it’s a pre-malignant disease that can lead to a tumor”, he says.
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Another possible, non-malignant cause is laryngitis from heavy vocal use🇧🇷 “If the patient talks a lot, screams a lot or has a very intense vocal activity, there is intense friction between the vocal cords. When they become inflamed, cells can form which, due to inflammation, die and turn white”, he adds.
When is laryngoscopy necessary?
Laryngoscopy is an endoscopic procedure that consists of looking at the larynx through the mouth, using an instrument called a laryngoscope. In a simplified way, it is a kind of “pipe” that is introduced through the mouth, reaching the vocal cords to examine them through a microscope. When it comes to leukoplakia, it is always necessary to remove the lesion to perform the biopsy and then determine the cause and subsequent diagnosis.
“It is necessary to remove the entire lesion to see what kind of disease the patient is having, what is causing that white plaque on the vocal cord”, explains Domingos.
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Therefore, regardless of the cause, the surgical procedure is necessary to both diagnose and treat the condition. “It is not possible to admit, just by looking, that the leukoplakia is malignant. You have to wait for the biopsy result to come out. If it’s dysplasia, it’s a premalignant disease. If it is just an inflammatory tissue, it is an inflammation with a white color”, concludes the otorhinolaryngologist.
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