How is leukoplakia similar to cancer?

Pre-cancer. Leukoplakia usually isn't dangerous, but it can sometimes be serious. A small percentage have precancerous cells or they may have cancerous cells mixed in or by the edges. If possible you want to remove cause (smoking, ill-fitting denture, broken tooth) and sometimes may biopsy to be safe, . A similarity is a change in the cell appearance under a microscope stained slide. From a healthy cell.
Premalignant state. Leukoplakia is a premalignant condition. Its presence is indicative of an increased possibility of malignancy developing.
A Change. Leukoplakia is a whitish film, plague or tissue in the mouth. It is different color change than the red or pink gingivia. It means that something caused this color change and probably other changes from normal. Therefore, this can be pre-cancerous. It does not mean that you have cancer or that you will get cancer but it possible that it will become a cancer site. Your dentist can monitor it.
Precursor. Leukoplakia. Means white patch. Chemical or mechanical (irritations) can cause this. Over time, these can evolve into cancer.