Actinic Keratosis Specialist

Dawn S. Allison, MD -  - Dermatologist

Allison Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center

Dawn S. Allison, MD

Dermatologist located in Bend, OR

Dermatologist and skin cancer specialist Dawn S. Allison, MD, relies on her expertise in precancer diagnosis to help thousands of patients at her practice in Bend, Oregon. Early detection is crucial in the fight to overcome skin cancer, which is why precancerous lesions like actinic keratoses need immediate treatment. If you have skin growths you think may be precancerous actinic keratosis, call Allison Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center or book an appointment online right away.

Actinic Keratosis Q&A

What is an actinic keratosis and what does it look like?

Actinic keratosis is a rough, scaly growth on your skin that frequently occurs in small clusters called actinic keratoses (AKs). You must pay attention to these growths because they’re the most common type of precancerous skin lesion.

At first, AKs are typically so tiny that they’re easier to detect by touch rather than sight. They feel rough and crusty as if you were running your hand over sandpaper, and you may have more invisible AKs than visible ones.

AKs start out very small and can slowly grow to about an eighth to a quarter of an inch. Sometimes, these lesions create a prickly, itchy, or tender sensation.

You may have an actinic keratosis if you notice the following signs and symptoms:

  • Rough, scaly patches of skin
  • Itching or burning in the area of concern
  • Pink, red, or brown bumps that can be slightly raised or flat

What causes actinic keratosis?

Years of exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or tanning beds may cause an actinic keratosis to grow. For that reason, AKs are frequently called solar keratoses.

These lesions most often appear in adults over the age of 40. They can grow on any part of your body that gets a lot of sunlight, but typically show up in the following areas:

  • Face
  • Bald scalp
  • Ears
  • Shoulders
  • Backs of the hands
  • Forearms
  • Neck

Can actinic keratosis turn into cancer?

Actinic keratoses are considered precancerous lesions. If left untreated, AKs can turn into squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer.

Since these precancerous lesions are so tricky to spot on your own, and may even disappear before reappearing again, it’s imperative to see Dr. Allison for regular full-body checkups.

If Dr. Allison finds AKs on your body, she may suggest a biopsy. Skin cancer is often curable when found and treated early.

If you suspect you may have actinic keratosis, immediate action increases your chances of maintaining good health. Call Allison Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center or book an appointment online right away.