Actinic Keratoses/Dysplastic Nevi
A precancerous lesion is a noninvasive growth that is not cancer but could become cancer over time. Because precancerous lesions carry the risk of turning into skin cancer, they are considered to be a preliminary stage of cancer. You and your physician will determine whether your precancerous lesion requires medical attention, which may include biopsy, removal or other treatment. The most common precancerous lesions include actinic keratosis and dysplastic nevi.
PHOTO MOLE MAPPING
Albany Dermatology offers Photo Mole Mapping, the use of high-resolution photographs to take an inventory of moles and other skin lesions on your body. A skin lesion is a part of the skin that has an abnormal growth or appearance compared to the skin around it, which can be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). Photo Mapping images provide a way to track changes on your skin particularly if you have a large number of unusual moles or if you have a history of skin cancer. Because it shows a history of changes to your skin over time, photo mapping helps to diagnose melanoma and skin cancer earlier.
Also called “solar keratosis,” these lesions present as a red scaly bump or patch of skin that may form a scab and fall off, but never seems to heal. They usually appear in areas of the body with greatest sun exposure. It is more common in fair-skinned people and it is associated with those who are frequently exposed to the sun. Actinic keratosis are considered to be potentially pre-cancerous as there is a risk some can progress to basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma; therefore treatment is recommended. Untreated lesions have up to 20% risk of progression to becoming skin cancer.
Also called "atypical" moles, these moles are irregular in shape and appear larger than average (larger than a pencil eraser). They tend to have uneven color with dark brown centers and lighter, uneven edges. While most dysplastic nevi will not turn into melanoma, people with dysplastic nevi have a greater chance of developing melanoma and therefore require careful monitoring, including at least annual skin exams by a doctor. Albany Dermatology offers the option of Photo Mole Mapping to monitor changes in moles over time. For people who have a personal or family history of melanoma, more frequent skin exams are recommended every three to six months.