A precancerous lesion is a change in some areas of your skin that carries the risk of turning into skin cancer. It is a preliminary stage of cancer. These precancerous lesions can have several causes; UV radiation, genetics, exposure to such cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) as arsenic, tar or x-ray radiation.
Actinic keratosis is a premalignant condition of thick, scaly, or crusty patches of skin. It is more common in fair-skinned people. It is associated with those who are frequently exposed to the sun, as it is usually accompanied by solar damage. Since some of these pre-cancers progress to squamous cell carcinoma, they should be treated. Untreated lesions have up to twenty percent risk of progression to squamous cell carcinoma.
An actinic keratosis site commonly ranges between 2 and 6 millimeters in size, and can be dark or light, tan, pink, red, a combination of all these, or have the same pigment as the surrounding skin. It may appear on any sun-exposed area, such as the face, ears, neck, scalp, chest, backs of hands, forearms, or lips.
Dysplastic Nevi are unusual moles that may resemble melanoma. People who have them are at increased risk of developing single or multiple melanomas. The higher the number of these moles someone has, the higher the risk; those who have 10 or more have 12 times the risk of developing melanoma compared to the general population. Dysplastic nevi are found significantly more often in melanoma patients than in the general population.