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Online clinic on skin conditions - Sept 2018

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talkhealth > Clinics > Online Clinics Index > Online clinic on skin conditions - Sept 2018 > Skin Cancer & Sun Safety

Skin Cancer & Sun Safety

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Acnitic Keritosis

Postby stuart31 on Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:36 am

I recently visited my GP with a very small (grain of sand), dry patch on my nose, not really visible but noticeable by touch.. She had a quick look, and feel and said I had Acnitic Keritosis, although she didn't use that term, just said it was sun damage that had the potential to turn into cancer. However she seemed quite relaxed about it, and said it was small and had no colour to it so it was 'fine'. It's been there for about 6 months I'd say, hasn't grown but I've got another at around the same size now in the same area. is it ok to leave this alone, watch and wait as my GP suggested or should I get treatment asap given it can become cancerous?!!!

I suffer from health anxiety (had CBT for it), and I see this every day in the mirror, which worries me now greatly.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
Stuart. (47).
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Re: Acnitic Keritosis

Postby Wendy Green on Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:56 pm

Hi Stuart,

I completely understand you concerns, however at the moment it doesn't sound like you need to worry too much.

My advice would be to continue to monitor your skin, and if either actinic keratosis grows into a lump, becomes tender, or starts bleeding, seek medical advice straight away, as these changes could signal the early onset of skin cancer (i.e. squamous cell carcinoma). Early treatment is usually effective.

In the meantime, make sure you protect your skin from further damage by wearing a hat and long-sleeved clothing and applying sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (i.e. factor 50), whenever you are exposed to sunlight.

Also, diet wise you could try eating lots of tomato puree (e.g. in spaghetti bolognese & on home-made pizzas), as this is a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that can help protect the skin from sun damage.

If you are still worried, it wouldn't hurt to see a different doctor for a second opinion, which would hopefully help to put your mind at rest.

I hope this helps.
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Wendy Green
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Re: Acnitic Keritosis

Postby Dr Adil Sheraz on Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:46 pm

Dear Stuart

Actinic keratoses are indeed areas of pre-cancer that are often seen in areas which have been exposed to the sun over a period of years. You are right in thinking that there is a potential for these lesions to convert to a skin cancer, however the risk is quite low. Risk factors for conversion to a skin cancer may include, multiple actinic keratoses (>5), excessive sun damage over the years, fair (type 1 skin) or being immune compromised (such as being on immune-suppressant medication).

On the whole actinic keratoses should be treated. Treatment modalities include, cryotherapy (freezing), creams, or surgery. However I would suggest that if your GP does not feel comfortable treating the lesions then a referral to a dermatologist would be entirely reasonable and in fact in my opinion required.

Adil Sheraz
Instagram: Dr_adilsheraz
Last edited by Dr Adil Sheraz on Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dr Adil Sheraz
Consultant Dermatologist - MBBS, BMEDSCI(HONS), MRCP (UK), MRCP (DERMATOLOGY) (UK)

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Dr Adil Sheraz
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Re: Acnitic Keritosis

Postby stuart31 on Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:58 am

Hi both and thanks!
looks like the advice falls between two stalls, but I am more inclined to treat than not. However I can't get the NHS to offer treatment at the moment for whatever reason, so given the cost of private care I guess I'll have to save up a bit! I think though there is no rush at the moment?!
Thanks again for your time and advice,
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