Dermatology — An Ongoing Thing

Virtually, every year since I have turned 50 years of age, I have had to visit one dermatologist or another to deal with epidermis problems. Even prior to that, I had minor things like cysts and moles that the doctors dealt with back then.

Since coming to Arizona and even a couple of years before that, Dermatologists have treated me by removing skin lesions such as basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. A lifetime of sun-exposure in the deserts of the west have come back to haunt me. Damsel says that skin remembers the UV exposure long after we forget about it.

Today, I had yet another appointment with the dermatologist who removed a lesion from my upper right chest a month ago. He had some interesting news for me; the dermopathology report indicated that the latest biopsy was, indeed, a keratoacanthoma which is a more aggressive form of skin cancer than those before this. The follow-up treatment in this case is like the other follow-ups in that the doctor freezes the tissue with liquid nitrogen directly on the lesion site and the area around it. This method, according to the treating physician, will usually prevent a recurrence 88 to 92 percent of the time.

I did some research on-line about keratoacanthoma which answered a couple of questions one might have:

Who Gets keratoacanthoma?

Keratoacanthoma is most common in fair-skinned older males with a history of chronic sun exposure. Most patients are over 60 years of age and it is twice as common in males than in females.

What causes Keratoacanthoma?

  • Exposure to ultraviolet light
  • Chemical carcinogens (e.g. cigarette smoking, industrial workers exposed to tar, pitch, and mineral oils)
  • Cutaneous trauma (e.g. surgery, radiation)
  • Human papillomavirus infection.

What is the outcome for keratoacanthoma?

Keratoacanthoma is regarded as benign and thus has an excellent prognosis following surgical excision.

I’m guessing UV caused my problem, although I was a smoker many years ago. I like the odds given for a full recovery.