During a routine trip to the dentist, Michael Haack was told that he had a white patch on his tongue. Haack did not have a history of mouth injuries or gum disease, so the news came as a surprise.
“My dentist told me that it resembled a freckle in my mouth,” explains the 28-year-old executive director of a local political organization. “He told me that it was an oral lesion, and that we would need to monitor it going forward.”
At the time, Haack thought little of the spot. However, over the next three years and three annual checkups, it progressed in size. His dentist ordered a biopsy and the results confirmed mild oral dysplasia—abnormal lesions, often white or red, within oral tissues that have the potential to develop into cancer.