Actinic Keratosis – Also known as AKs, these lesions are typically scaly and rough. They sometimes can be felt more than seen. These are precursors to skin cancer—most commonly squamous cell carcinoma, but there is evidence that they can precede basal cell carcinoma development as well.
Most actinic keratoses will NOT become skin cancer. The rate of development is low and slow—approximately 10% over 10 years. The more AKs a patient has, the more likely skin cancer will develop. This is why dermatologists treat AKs. Liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery) is frequently used to treat actinic keratoses as it is quick and easy and helps avoid surgery that could be required if they transform into skin cancer. At VibrantSkin, patients needing liquid nitrogen treatment of AKs can rest assured that there is no extra fee for this procedure—it is included with your office visit. However, when AKs are diffuse Dr. Buster will sometimes prescribe a cream rather than use cryosurgery. Cream is also an option for patients desiring to avoid cryosurgery.