Actininc keratosis treatment
If you have been diagnosed with actinic keratosis, you may have some concerns about this skin condition. This common disorder has been associated with an increased risk for skin cancer, and understanding the disease is important in preventing long-term health problems. The signs and symptoms are fairly easy to detect. You may notice small, rough, scaly patches of skin accompanied by an itching or burning sensation; a small, hard, wartlike lump may form, or you may notice a skin lesion that ranges from flesh-colored to red to brown in color. The lesions are normally found on sun-exposed areas, such as the face, ears, scalp, arms and hands; however, they may appear anywhere on the body. They are typically the result of exposure to the sun, and they mainly occur in men over 40 of European descent and a fair complexion. However, other individuals may also be affected, so it is important to have any unusual skin changes checked by a doctor. The lesions are described as pre-cancerous, because in many cases they may lead to skin cancer if they are not removed. However, not all keratoses develop into cancer, and some resolve on their own. Because there is no way of knowing which lesions will become cancerous and which ones will heal, dermatologists generally recommend that they be removed. Treatment generally involves an outpatient procedure to remove the affected layers of tissue. There are several different options for this type of procedure.
What are the treatment options for actinic keratosis? There are a number of methods for treating these skin lesions. Cryotherapy (freezing the affected area with liquid nitrogen) is a common technique, as is curettage, where the tissue is scraped away with a surgical instrument. Topical medications may also be used in actinic keratosis treatment, including creams that contain chemotherapy drugs; dermabrasion is another technique some dermatologists employ to remove precancerous tissue.
Are actinic keratoses the same condition as actinic porokeratosis? Actinic porokeratoses are different in that the condition is hereditary. The lesions on the skin have a similar appearance, but they are more typically found on the arms, legs and trunk that on the face. Prolonged sun exposure or sunburn can make the lesions appear more pronounced; the blemishes normally fade after a period of time when they are not subjected to intense sunlight.
Am I at risk for this condition? While it is possible for nearly anyone to develop the condition, there are some risk factors wihch make it more likely that some individuals will experience the disorder. Males over 40 who live in a sunny climate or at a high altitude, are of European descent with light hair and fair or freckled skin, or who have a history of frequent sunburn, are at an increased risk of developing actinic keratosis.