The facts about actinic keratosis, or AK for short, can be scary:
- It’s the most common precancer.
- It affects more than 58 million Americans.
- Left untreated, AKs may become life-threatening squamous cell carcinomas.
But it’s also a fact that YOU have more power than you may know when it comes to your skin health. Millions of people just like you have stopped cancer in its tracks. Here’s how…
Know What to Look For
Early detection is key to preventing and treating the development of skin cancer. Make a monthly skin check a part of your routine and take note of anything suspicious. Look for signs of AK such as scaly patches, red bumps with tan crusts, an area that feels like sandpaper, or anything that keeps coming back or doesn’t heal. The primary cause of AKs is chronic sun exposure, so pay particular attention to the face, lips, ears, scalp, shoulders, neck, hands, and forearms.
Choose Action Over Fear
Got questions or concerns? Don’t talk yourself out of taking action. Have we mentioned that early detection is your #1 asset? Pick up the phone and call your board-certified dermatologist for an appointment. Skin is our specialty. If we determine the spot you noticed is an AK, we have a host of treatment options right in our office.
Early treatment can eliminate almost all actinic keratoses before they become skin cancers. Treatments for AKs are numerous, including:
- Cryotherapy: Using this quick and simple procedure, your doctor applies liquid nitrogen to the AK, freezing the growth which will later fall off.
- Photodynamic Therapy: This non-invasive treatment uses a strong blue light and a photosensitizing gel to destroy the AK cells. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is often used for treating multiple AKs on the face and scalp.
- Topical Medications: These come in the form of creams, gels, and liquid solutions and are applied directly to the skin.
- Laser Resurfacing: Your doctor uses a laser to remove the surface layer of the skin, destroying the AK cells.
- Chemical Peel: Can also be used to remove the top layer of the skin to destroy AK cells.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ. Give it the love it deserves by protecting it and caring for it all year round. See something that concerns you? Set up an appointment with us at Savola Dermatology Center today. (540) 451-2833