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Actinic Keratoses Treatment in Fargo

close up of nose with actinic keratoses

Approximately 58 million Americans have one or more spots of actinic keratoses. This precancerous growth is caused by overexposure to the sun or the overuse of tanning beds. AK is more common in people with fair skin. The spots appear as patches or rough dry lesions on areas that are regularly exposed to the sun, such as the scalp, face, arms, neck, and hands. These lesions may be flesh-colored, gray, pink, or red. Because actinic keratoses can develop into malignant cells, such as squamous cell carcinoma, prompt medical treatment is important.

Common symptoms of actinic keratoses include:

  • Rough scaly patches on the skin that is commonly exposed to the sun
  • Stinging, burning, or itchy growths
  • Skin irritation
  • Lesions may be surrounded by irritated, red skin

Actinic keratoses is a precancerous lesion that must be checked by a medical provider, especially if the lesion becomes an open sore, is painful, becomes infected, or increases in size.

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Treatment Options For Actinic Keratosis

There are many ways to treat and physically remove these lesions. In some cases, in-office treatment may be needed.

Cryotherapy is a common procedure that involves freezing the lesions with liquid nitrogen. Over time, the lesion will fall off and fresh, healthy skin will take its place.

Curettage is another procedure that’s commonly used to remove actinic keratoses. A medical provider will use an instrument called a curette to scrape away the lesion. Electrical current may be used to destroy any remaining portion of the lesion after the scraping is completed.

Topical medications can also be an effective way to remove actinic keratoses. However, topical treatments, such as creams and gels, may cause skin discomfort and redness, and application duration may take several days or weeks to completely remove the lesion. Your medical provider will go over the proper application, frequency of application, and application sites. Consistent treatment will be very important for a successful outcome.

Other treatment options that have a shorter treatment duration can include chemical peels, ablative approaches, and laser treatments. Your medical provider can help you determine the right treatment plan for your unique circumstances.

Can Actinic Keratoses be Cured?

Actinic keratoses are the most common type of precancerous skin lesion. By seeking treatment, a medical professional can assess your skin and determine an effective and safe way to treat AK. Early detection is key to preventing actinic keratoses from evolving into cancer.

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What To Expect During Your Visit

AK can be diagnosed through a skin exam, however, testing may also be required. A medical provider may use use a magnifying lens or light to look for lesions and other growths, searching all over your body, including your scalp, for sun damaged skin. A small sample of your skin may be taken for a biopsy to look for abnormal cells. Any new or unusual skin changes or growths require a medical exam.

When detected early, AK can be treated and managed. Since actinic keratoses can evolve into squamous cell carcinoma, follow-up appointments and managed care are important. Your medical provider will discuss initial treatment options, duration of therapy, and proper treatment regimens. They will also go over what you can do to prevent sun damage in the future, such as the daily use of broad-spectrum water-resistant sunblock.

After your provider has gone over treatment options and prevention, you may need to schedule a follow-up office visit.

provider talking with patient

Living With Actinic Keratosis

Even if the lesions are itchy, irritating, or painful, most actinic keratoses are not serious. In some cases, the lesions may go away on their own, without treatment, however, growths may recur. Some lesions are more persistent and will grow in size or more lesions will appear.

Unfortunately, 10% of actinic keratoses develop into skin cancer, making it impossible for people to determine which lesions require urgent treatment and which are safe to leave. Because of this, it’s important to seek medical treatment if you notice growths or unusual skin changes.

Cost of Treatment / Insurance

The cost of treatment for actinic keratoses can vary and will depend on the treatment type, the cost of medication, and other factors, such as insurance coverage. The cost of ongoing care and medical procedures can be discussed at your initial appointment. To discuss treatment costs and learn whether Altaire Clinic is an in-network provider for your insurance, contact our facility directly to learn more.

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Make An Appointment

If you’ve recently noticed new skin changes or you’re concerned a growth may be cancerous, you must contact Altaire Clinic to schedule an evaluation with one of our experienced and knowledgeable medical providers. At Altaire Clinic, we use the latest techniques and technologies to treat a variety of skin issues. To schedule a consult, contact our facility at (701) 809-9369, or fill out the online contact form.

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Keratosis Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Warning Signs of Actinic Keratosis?

The signs and symptoms of actinic keratoses can vary and may include: Slightly raised or flat patches of skin or a bump or bumps on the top layer of skin Wart-like, hard surface Brown, red, or pink lesions New bumps or patches on sun-exposed areas Growths that itch, crust, burn, or bleed

Does Actinic Keratosis Come & Go?

AK is not constant and lesions and rough patches may disappear, only to reappear on the skin. In other cases, the lesions may begin to flake off and will disappear as new, healthy, and smooth skin takes its place.

What Age Does Actinic Keratosis Occur?

AK often appears after many years of sun exposure. Typically, these growths will begin to appear between the ages of 30-40.

Contact Us

We encourage you to book a consultation, so one of our providers can personally discuss your needs and recommend the procedures best suited to your lifestyle. Contact us by phone or use the convenient form below so you can reach your ultimate health, wellness, & beauty goals.