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How Often Does Actinic Keratosis Turn Into Cancer?

Actinic keratosis, or solar keratosis, is a common premalignant skin growth caused by chronic sun exposure. These precancerous skin lesions are usually rough and scaly and range in color from white, tan, or light pink to dark brown. Actinic keratosis isn’t just a cosmetic issue – it’s also one of the most valuable skin cancer warning signs. Fortunately, several effective treatments can remove actinic keratosis before it becomes cancerous.

Here’s what you need to know if you have an irregular patch.

What Percent of Actinic Keratosis Become Cancerous?

The majority of actinic keratosis lesions will remain benign. However, in about 10 percent of cases, they will develop into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). For that reason, you should have actinic keratosis promptly diagnosed and removed by a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Nina Patel. 

Should I Have My Actinic Keratosis Removed?

Actinic keratosis removal is a quick, in-office procedure that can save you the stress of a future SCC diagnosis. If you have one of these lesions, you should get it removed.

There are several ways to get rid of actinic keratosis, including:

  • Cryotherapy: One of the most common ways to remove actinic keratosis is by freezing them with liquid nitrogen. The treatment takes minutes and requires zero downtime, though you may be sore around the treatment area while healthy skin remodels.
  • Laser therapy: Removing actinic keratosis with laser treatments is an increasingly popular option. 
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT): A light-sensitive solution can be applied to a patch before exposing it to a special light that destroys the precancerous tissue. 
  • Curettage: Another option is using a surgical instrument to scrape away the damaged tissue. You’ll receive local anesthesia so you won’t experience any pain during this minor in-office procedure.

Schedule Your Actinic Keratosis Removal in Marina del Rey

Removing actinic keratosis as early as possible can lower your risk of skin cancer and give you the best aesthetic outcome. If you’ve noticed an unusual skin growth, call 310-577-7544 to book your actinic keratosis removal with a board-certified dermatologist in Marina del Rey, California. Dr. Patel has extensive cosmetic and medical dermatology expertise and loves helping patients achieve healthy, beautiful skin.

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