Actinic keratoses (AK) are small, rough, red lesions on sun-exposed areas that are considered premalignant, in that they may progress to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Actinic keratoses are usually easily treated completely with cryosurgery, meaning a cold spray of liquid nitrogen (LN2). Sometimes, when large areas such as the entire scalp on a bald man, or entire face is involved with multiple AKs, “field treatment” will be advised. In this treatment, the patient applied a topical cream nightly, for 2-6 weeks, leading to a great reduction in the extent of lesions.
Dr. Sadoff employs a variety of methods to reduce the number of AK lesions. Although not every AK will progress to skin cancer, those occurring in certain areas, such as the lip, are more likely to do so. Also, individuals on immunosuppressive therapy, such as that to prevent rejection in a patient with a transplant, have a greatly increased risk of AK progression to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and therefore should be treated thoroughly.