Actinic keratosis is an early warning sign of skin cancer. This lesion involves the appearance of rough patches on the skin and occurs in areas that were exposed to sunlight over time. Although it is not considered a form of skin cancer, it can turn into cancer if left untreated.
Like skin cancer, actinic keratosis is caused by prolonged exposure to UV light such as sunlight. People who have low levels of melanin in the skin are the most susceptible to sunburns and are at greater risk of developing actinic keratosis.
How is actinic keratosis diagnosed?
Check the skin and especially exposed to the sun, any scaly, rough, flesh-colored, pinkish, gray, pink, brown portion. These injuries are often covered with a crust. Actinic keratosis is often found in the facial area, scalp, ears, neck, arms and hands.
If a person considers that it may suffer from skin disease or any other pathological change, the dermatologist should be consulted.
If your doctor diagnoses actinic keratoses, there are various treatment options. Sometimes surgery may be necessary to eliminate or reduce the chances of tumor formation, using liquid nitrogen, or using a laser to destroy the cells that caused the injury. For healing, drugs like fluorouracil and imiquimod will be applied on the skin.
Photodynamic therapy uses a special light source combined with medication, that can be used to treat actinic keratosis.
How can actinic keratosis be prevented?
Preventive measures are the same as for protection against skin cancer: avoid exposure to ultraviolet light. Regular checking of the skin. Be sure to also apply sunscreen to avoid UV light during peak periods (10-16) when sunbathing, the body should be completely covered with loose clothing and sunglasses if you will go outdoors when the sun is very strong (sun can damage your eyes too) Monthly self-examination is recommended to detect early signs of cancer.