Actinic Keratosis Can Lead to Skin Cancer
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Actinic Keratosis Can Lead to Skin Cancer

Actinic Keratosis is a skin condition which is caused by over exposure to the sun, if this condition is left untreated it can lead to skin cancer.

Actinic keratosis is a skin disorder which causes itchy scaly patches on the skin. It is a condition that affects older people and is a result of too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays, tanning beds and sun lamps. If diagnosed early enough the condition need not progress to cancer. However, if not caught in time, the condition will lead to squamish cell carcinoma which is one of the various forms of skin cancer.

Squamish cell carcinoma is the earliest form of skin cancer and is treatable when diagnosed quickly. If not, the cancer can grow and even spread to other parts of the body.

You are urged to seek a doctor for any skin condition. Your family doctor will refer you to a dermatologist. Since specialists have very little time and many patients to see, it would be advisable to have your questions written out and ready for your consultation.

The types of questions you will need to ask are:

  • Do I need tests to confirm the diagnosis?
  • What is the treatment plan?
  • What are the pros and cons for the treatment?
  • Are there alternatives to the treatment plan?
  • What happens if I leave the patch untreated?
  • What are the changes in my skin that I need to be looking for?
  • Is there anything that I need to do to prevent further outbreaks of actinic keratosis?
  • What follow up will be done?
  • Do you have any brochures or can you direct me to any websites for more information?
  • Are the procedures covered by my insurance?
  • Are these procedures considered medical or cosmetic?
  • Will I be left with scar tissue?

The doctor will also have some questions to ask you so be prepared for questions like:

  • When did you first notice the legions and patchy skin?
  • Do you have more than one area affected with the condition?
  • Are the legions and patches uncomfortable in anyway?
  • Do you spend a lot of time in the sun?
  • Do you protect your skin with sun tan lotion
  • Do you get red when you are in the sun or experience many sunburns
  • Do you use tanning beds and sun lamps?

Tests and diagnosis for actinic keratosis

The doctor can examine the patch and know by looking at it if it is actinic keratosis. If the doctor isn’t sure he or she will take a sample of the legion called a biopsy right in the office under local anesthetic and send it to the lab for further testing.


Mayo clinic

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Comments (1)

This is really informative and educational topic.thanks