View random article

How to Recognize Precancerous Skin Lesions & Get Treatment

Skin cancer is a hot topic that many people worry about because everyone is susceptible; especially when spring and summer are just around the corner. The experts spout advice on how to prevent skin cancer from developing on your body. And you are given detailed instructions on how to identify areas on your body which could be indicative of skin cancer. But you don’t really hear to much talk about the in between stages. No, this is not a typo or mistake. There really is an in-between stage of cancer. It is called a precancerous skin lesion. A precancerous lesion is changes in the skin which can eventually become cancer. If the precancerous lesion is not identified and treated in time, it becomes cancer.

There are several different types of precancerous skin lesions. Each type presents itself in a different manner and can appear in a different area of the body. These precancerous lesions may have even been present on your body for such a lengthy period of time you don’t even notice it anymore. And some are so similar in appearance to normal types of spots which occur naturally you may not pay any attention to them. Unfortunately the rising incidence of skin cancer has made it necessary to routinely inspect suspicious areas on your body and seek professional diagnosis even if there is the slightest room for doubt. A spot on your face or body which never raised even the slightest bit of concern from you could in fact be a precancerous skin cancer lesion.

Acitinic Chelitis is a form of a precancerous skin cancer which occurs on the lips. The lips will have persistent cracking similar to what occurs when the lips are chapped. The lips will feel dry and some patches of the lip may become scaly. Other symptoms could include some swelling and more pronounced lines on the lips than normal.

Acitinic Keratosis is the most common of the precancerous lesions or growths encountered. These lesions appear on areas of the body which receive the most sun exposure. The precancerous lesions may be red and scaly areas on the skin which don’t seem to heal. They can present as bumps which look very similar to a wart. It is estimated that around 5% of these precancerous lesions actually develop into cancer.

Moles are probably the most common growths which occur on the body. Moles are generally just a benign skin growth. But some moles can become cancer over time which is why they are considered precancerous skin lesions also. A person who has a large number of moles on their body will need to monitor them for changes. But even a single mole could become cancer. Normal moles will not usually become larger than the size of a pencil eraser. Moles which become larger than that size should be viewed by a doctor. Moles with uneven or fading borders or colors are also unusual and should be evaluated by your doctor.

Cutaneous horns are another type of precancerous skin lesion which is generally indicative of cancer. These unusual growths occur in the elderly and are most common in those with fair skin. The growth extends outward and takes on the appearance of a small horn. The base of the horn can be a carcinoma.

These are the most common precancerous skin lesions which emerge. The precancerous lesions are usually treated to prevent the eventual conversion into cancer. Usually the doctor will use cryotherapy to eliminate the lesion. Generally a liquid nitrogen solution is applied to the precancerous growth. The liquid nitrogen will cause the skin to blister. When the blister bursts and eventually falls off the skin, the precancerous skin cells are shed with them. The skin which grows back to replace the precancerous cells should be normal.

The second most common treatment to eliminate precancerous lesions is an at home therapy. The doctor prescribes a cream to the patient. The person than applies the cream to the area with the precancerous lesion. The cells are killed off by the active ingredients in the cream and are shed. The skin which grows back should be normal skin. This course of treatment can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to work. The time is dependent on the size of the area and how quickly the person’s skin responds to the treatment.

Featured in Health