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Actinic Keratosis: A Dangerous Skin Condition

From the Show: Staying Well
Summary: Actinic keratoses (AK), is a dangerous pre-cursor to cancer. Learn how to protect yourself from falling victim.
Air Date: 6/17/13
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Ellen Marmur, MD
ellen marmurA board-certified dermatologist with advanced, fellowship training in cosmetic and laser surgery, as well as Mohs skin cancer surgery, Dr. Marmur earned her degree in medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine with distinction in research on melanoma vaccines and the Alpha Omega Alpha award for overall academic and clinical excellence in medicine. She trained in internal medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and then in dermatology at The New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Hospital in Manhattan.

Dr. Marmur completed her fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery with the world-renowned leader, Dr. David Goldberg. Dr. Marmur is the principle investigator on dozens of research studies, including FDA trials on new therapies such as the safety trial using calcium hydroxyapatite filler in dark skin types, the first in class treatment of advanced basal cell carcinoma approved in 2012 called Erivedge, and many new treatments for actinic keratoses. Her current interest is in genomic and epigenetic analysis of the effects of sun exposure and aging on skin.
Actinic Keratosis: A Dangerous Skin Condition
Excessive exposure to the sun early in life can make you look older than you really are. Photo-aging occurs from sun exposure and creates coarse, dry skin, freckling, skin discoloration, leathery skin, and deep wrinkles. 

Dry, scaly spots that won't go away could be actinic keratoses (AK), an under-recognized, very common, pre-cancerous skin condition that affects 58 million Americans; many of them seniors.

Most people who have many AKs continue to get new AKs for life.

AKs are considered pre-cancerous.  When left untreated, AKs may turn into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. By seeing a dermatologist, the AKs can be treated before they become skin cancer; or with early detection and treatment, the cancer is highly curable. 

So... what can you do between sunscreen and skin cancer diagnosis to lessen your chance of developing the second most common type of skin cancer?

Nationally renowned dermatologist and skin cancer survivor, Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD, talks about AKs, why they are not well known, and how to identify and treat them. She also gives advice on new ways to prevent skin cancer.