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Chicago Medical Dermatology Conditions Actinic keratosis (pre-cancers)

Actinic keratoses are small, rough, raised areas found on the skin that have been exposed to the sun for a long period of time. Some actinic keratoses may develop into a type of skin cancer called Squamous cell carcinoma. There is also evidence that the incidence of Basal cell carcinoma is increased in patients with many actinic keratoses. An actinic keratosis is usually found on the face, scalp, back of the hands, chest, or other chronically sun-exposed areas. They begin as flat and scaly areas. The color may be gray, pink, red, or the same color as the skin. Often, it has a white or yellow crusty "scale" on top. Later it develops a hard and wart-like or gritty, rough, surface. It may be easier to feel than see. Anyone can get an actinic keratosis, however they are more common in people with light skin and light eyes/hair, previous organ transplant recipients on immunosuppressive therapy, and albinism.

Treatments
Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen, curettage and electrodessication, topical therapy (e.g. 5-fluorouracil, imiquimod, diclofenac, ingenol mebutate), and photodynamic therapy. So called "field therapies" such as topical therapy and photodynamic therapy have the added advantage of treating very early and subclinical actinic keratoses in an entire field of skin, such as the scalp and forehead, and often prevent or delay the development of new lesions as well as yielding an excellent cosmetic result.

Prevention
Aggressive sun protection with a broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVA and UVB protection) of > SPF 30. Re-application every 2 hours. Use a water resistant product. Avoid the sun during its peak hours and wear sun protective clothing. E.g. http://www.coolibar.com


To discuss your Actinic keratosis (pre-cancers) Chicago condition with a Board Certified Dermatologist please make an online appointment or call (312) 585 7299 today.