Skin Cancer

Actinic Keratoses

Actinic Keratoses, frequently referred to as AKs, are common lesions in fair-skinned, elderly patients with lots of sun exposure over their lifetime. The majority of AKs are located on “exposed” areas such as the face and forearms and can have a “rough” or “gritty” feel to them. Many times they are discovered by a trained medical provider during an exam without patients ever aware of them.

It is important to have these lesions evaluated by a trained professional as they can transform into a skin cancer. AKs alert the provider to be concerned about this possibility and develop a patient-centered management plan. At Advanced Dermatology our medical providers are experts in detecting and treating AKs, which help prevent skin cancer in our patients. Don’t wait to schedule an appointment.

Q: If I protect myself from the sun from now on can I avoid these pre-cancers?

A: Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the major cause of these lesions, but other radiation sources (mainly tanning beds) can also cause these lesions. Unfortunately, most of the exposure leading to these changes occurred while growing up. However, protecting yourself from now on with tips from your dermatologist will lower the future amount and development of these lesions.

Q: What kind of skin cancer can these become? Can it spread from the skin?

A: AKs can transform into Squamous cell skin cancer and less frequently Basal cell skin cancer. Squamous cell skin cancer is a cancer that can spread from the skin to the rest of the body. This is why it is important to schedule an appointment for an evaluation by one of the professional providers at Advanced Dermatology.

Q: How will the dermatologist take care of me?

A: This starts with a total body skin examination at your evaluation to detect any skin lesions concerning for skin cancer. Once you have been checked, several treatment options are available. In-office cryotherapy is a very common and easily-performed procedure that can treat these lesions immediately. Several newer topical medications and light-based treatments have been developed to treat these lesions. Schedule your appointment today with your Advanced Dermatology provider to protect the health of your skin.