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Actinic Keratosis: What you need to know about Precancers

There are a number of names for this skin condition; Actinic Keratosis, Solar Keratosis, Precancerous lesions, and AK’s.

Let’s start with the basics….what exactly is an Actinic keratosis? AK’s are typically described as a small, usually red rough spot occurring on skin that has been chronically exposed to the sun. There is often, but not always a prickling pain felt when it is touched. AK’s are lesions that have the potential to turn into a squamous cell skin cancer if they go untreated. Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball to determine which lesions will turn into cancer and which one’s won’t, so it’s important to treat them regardless.

Who is at risk for AK’s? While everyone with sun-exposure is at risk, Actinic Keratosis like most skin cancers, occur most commonly in fair-skinned people after years of sun exposure. Common locations for actinic keratoses are the face, scalp, ears, back of the neck, upper chest, as well as the tops of the hands and forearms.

Treatments for actinic keratoses include cryotherapy, scraping or burning photodynamic therapy, or a number of cream options.

Our highly qualified healthcare providers can usually diagnose a precancerous lesion by a simple physical examination, so if you think you may be sprouting something like this, be proactive and get your yearly skin check!

WDC is also currently enrolling patients in a study on actinic keratosis where you can receive potential free treatment and a money compensation for your time! If you think you may be candidate, contact our office today to find out more details!