Pre-Cancer Lesions | Actinic Keratosis | Diagnosis and Treatment

Pre-cancer lesions found on the skin are scaling, rough growths that appear on areas affected by chronic sun damage. They may appear on the face, neck, arms, a bald scalp, and ears. These lesions can turn into squamous cell carcinomas, which is one type of skin cancer.

Pre-cancer lesions and actinic keratosis

While many people are familiar with the phrase pre-cancer lesions, another commonly used name for the same affliction is actinic keratosis (referring to one), or keratoses for many, as they often appear in clusters. The skin lesions start out very small and grow to about an eighth to a quarter of an inch. In the early stages, the keratoses may be invisible to the naked eye but perceptible by touch. As they grow, they scale and may become inflamed. In some cases, they can bleed.

Who is at risk for pre-cancer lesions?

Fair-skinned people are at a greater risk of actinic keratosis, or pre-cancer lesions, because of their sensitivity to sun exposure. Pre-cancer lesions are more likely to appear in older people because of the cumulative effect of years of sun exposure, but they can appear on people in their twenties. Frequent exposure to the sun and to tanning beds can accelerate the damage to the skin, which leads to such lesions.

Possible treatments for pre-cancer lesions

Once pre-cancerous lesions have been identified, a dermatologist may take some tissue for a biopsy to determine if it is cancerous. Not all actinic keratoses become cancerous,but there is no way of knowing without testing them. Early identification and removal is the best way to ensure they do not become cancerous.

Removal options

Topical creams and ointments are available to heal the lesions. They may also be removed by:

All of these treatments are designed to remove the lesions before they turn into cancer, thus they certainly prove more than just purposeful for cosmetic reasons.People should check their skin regularly to look for any unusual growths or lesions, as they may be pre-cancerous. It’s vital to monitor these lesions and to have them checked out by a qualified dermatologist in order to undergo proper treatment, if necessary. The best way to prevent actinic keratoses is to wear sunscreen and protective clothing to limit sun exposure.

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