New Gel Used to Treat Precancerous Lesions


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Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with one in five Americans developing skin cancer through the course of a lifetime according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In the past people did not know the risks of pre-mature aging and disease from sun damage. However, current data shows an absolute link between long term skin damage and sun exposure in the form of wrinkles, age spots and possibly cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation reported that over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s board certified dermatologists and providers know the importance of protecting your skin from and preventing sun damage.  Actinic keratosis is the most common type of pre-cancerous lesion, affecting more than 58 million Americans. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about 65 percent of all squamous cell carcinomas arise in lesions that were previously diagnosed as actinic keratosis.

Although actinic keratosis can be a frightening diagnosis, a newly FDA approved gel may be effective in treating the condition.  We have discussed topical treatments in a previous blog used specifically for acne; this new topical gel is designed to treat precancerous skin lesions within several days. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, previous treatments took weeks, and sometimes months, to effectively address this condition. The new gel product, Picato®, is applied for one to three days rather than over a span of weeks or months.

The study researched more than 900 people with actinic keratosis on their face, scalp or body. The results showed that the gel cleared the lesions nearly 43 percent of the time when used on the face or scalp, compared to with nearly 4 percent for the placebo. This medicine has the potential to be very beneficial as patients are more likely to adhere to the treatment instructions’ short required application time.

Other treatments for pre-cancers include photodynamic therapy, cryosurgery, and laser treatments. Determining the best treatment for the patient is imperative in treating the condition before it can become skin cancer.  The providers of Dermatology Associates of Atlanta stress to their patients the importance of getting a skin cancer body check annually to catch skin problems early because skin cancer .

If you would like more information on skin cancer treatment and prevention or to schedule a skin consultation, please contact our office today. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google + for the latest skincare news and information.