Actinic Keratosis

What is actinic keratosis (AK)?

It is a premalignant lesion that results from sun exposure and is confined to the top layer of skin (epidermis). Other names for this condition are solar keratosis and senile keratosis. Although this skin disorder is not common on the feet and legs, it is still important to be on the lookout for this condition since it is precancerous. Prolonged and repeated exposure to the sun can lead to higher risk of this skin lesion. It can appear as a scaly red bump on the skin. The risk of transformation for this lesion into a cancerous form is up to 16%. It is most commonly found on the face, chest, ears, forearms, top of the hand, and the shins.

How do we treat these lesions?

Cryotherapy which is a type of skin destruction is when the doctor will freeze the lesion off. This is commonly used with stubborn calluses and also warts. Shaving of the lesion is probably the most common treatment since the doctor can then send the shaved lesion to the pathologist as a biopsy. The pathologist will then determine what the lesion is and this will dictate if any further treatment is needed.

The best way to treat this skin lesion is to prevent it. Use the proper sunblock when spending time outdoors. Prevention can save the patient a lot of heart ache and will also preserve the healthiness of the skin in general.

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