Actinic Keratosis Treatment Waldorf, MD
Actinic keratoses (AK), also called solar keratoses, are scaly, crusty growths (lesions) caused by damage from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Actinic keratoses are usually scaly, feel like sandpaper to the touch, and range in color from skin-toned to reddish-brown. Actinic keratoses may be as small as the head of a pin or as large as a quarter (or bigger, if left untreated).
Most people with one actinic keratosis (AK) lesion will develop others. Actinic keratoses can appear in groups and many may be undetected. They may occasionally itch or become tender, especially after sun exposure.
When actinic keratoses occur on the lip, they are referred to as actinic cheilitis. This type of AK appears as cracking, dried lips, often around the border of the lip.
Actinic Keratoses and Skin Cancer
Actinic keratoses are considered PRECANCEROUS by many physicians and have the potential to become a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). In fact, 40-60% of squamous cell skin cancers begin as untreated AKs.
Therefore, your doctor will be diligent in diagnosing, treating, and monitoring actinic keratoses. Also, since actinic keratoses result from chronic sun exposure, those with AKs are at risk for developing other types of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma or melanoma.
Fortunately, actinic keratoses are treatable when detected in the early stages. People at risk for actinic keratoses and skin cancer can reduce that risk by performing frequent skin self-exams and seeing their doctor for regular screenings.
Treatment Options for Actinic Keratoses
There are many actinic keratosis treatment options. After diagnosing your actinic keratoses, your doctor will consider these factors:
- The number, size, and location of actinic keratoses lesion(s)
- Results of past treatments, if treated before
- Your age and medical history, such immune system function
To learn more about treating actinic keratoses, visit Mid-Atlantic Skin at one of our three convenient locations in Waldorf, Leonardtown and California, MD.