Are you noticing changes in your skin? Are these recent growths somewhat scaly or even crusty? If so, you may have developed actinic keratosis due to sun damage. When left untreated, actinic keratosis can develop into squamous cell carcinoma. However, with early detection, you can prevent this precancerous lesion from developing further.
What is Actinic Keratosis?
Actinic Keratosis is a precancerous skin lesion that develops as a result of ultraviolet radiation or sun damage. These lesions are often raised with a scaly or crusty texture and can vary in color from flesh colored to red. Actinic keratosis is considered precancerous because when left untreated, this lesion can further develop into a type of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. Most patients find these lesions from touch due to the rough texture rather than sight and they can be found anywhere on the body that has been overexposed to UV rays.
How is Actinic Keratosis Treated?
Luckily, early detection and treatment of AK can completely eliminate the lesions and their possibility of turning into skin cancer. Ricardo Mejia, MD is specially trained to identify Actinic Keratosis without the need for biopsy.
- Topical Treatment – If your lesions are more recent and possibly smaller, your doctor may decide to treat you with a topical treatment such as 5-fluorouracil or Imiquimod, Liquid Nitrogen, PDT, or Photodynamic Therapy. Those will help reduce and eliminate the precancerous skin cells.
- Surgical Treatment– A skin biopsy is only necessary if the lesion appears to be more swollen where it may have progressed to a skin cancer like a squamous cell carcinoma.
If you have noticed any changes or recent growths in the skin, it is important that you come in to see us at Jupiter Dermatology & Hair Restoration for a screening. Early detection and prevention such as proper sun care is the best way to prevent more serious forms of skin cancer from developing.