Patients with actinic keratoses (AKs) now have increased access to treatment options. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (formerly known as the Health Care Financing Administration) recently added a new national coverage policy on the treatment of AKs under Medicare. approximately 39 million Medicare recipients will now have coverage for the treatment of AKs, without restriction, using surgical and medical methods.
An early sign of one of the most common types of skin cancer, actinic keratoses can and should be treated, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Left untreated, these growths may progress to squamous cell carcinoma. Research has demonstrated that damage to the p53 gene found in more than 90% of squamous cell carcinomas is also present in AKs. At least 40% of squamous cell carcinomas begin as AKs.
"The presence of AKs has tremendous importance in that they can identify individuals who have already begun to develop a potentially fatal form of skin cancer," said dermatologist Clay Cockerell, MD, secretary-treasurer of the American Academy of Dermatology. "Through greater awareness and treatment of AKs, the incidence of invasive squamous cell carcinoma may be significantly reduced."