Actinic Keratoses (AKs) typically present as pink scaly patches on sun-exposed areas of the body. They are considered precancerous growths caused by UV exposure. Without treatment, AKs may develop into squamous cell skin cancer. AKs may be treated in a variety of ways, including cryosurgery, photodynamic therapy (PDT/Blu-Light), topical treatments, or with a combination of treatments.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell skin cancers (BCCs) are the number one occurring skin cancer. It can present in multiple forms from red patches, pink to flesh-colored bumps, shiny growths, or non-healing sores. BCCs arise from the basal layer of the epidermis after severe and cumulative UV exposure. BCC treatments are typically completed in office or at home with topical medications. More aggressive subtypes may require surgery.
Melanoma is the most severe and concerning form of skin cancer. It typically presents as a brown or black growth often resembling a mole and can even arise from existing moles. Some melanomas have been identified in a range of colors from pink/red, blue, purple, and white. Intense UV rays resulting in a sunburn, artificial light (tanning beds), and genetics are risk factors, as well as a positive family history. Melanoma is successfully treated if identified early. Treatment is typically surgical and is dependent on the progression and type of melanoma. The ABCDEs of Melanoma are an excellent guide to identify a suspicious lesion or mole.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are the second leading skin cancer. SCCs grow after years of exposure to UV rays and are typically found on sun-exposed areas and mucous membranes. They may form red scaly patches, crusted pink bumps, open bleeding sores, and can develop rapidly. Untreated SCCs may spread (metastasize) to lymph nodes, organs, and can invade surrounding tissue. SCC treatment is dependent on the growth and depth of the cancer. Typical treatments include surgery, topical therapies, and on occasion radiation.