Skin Lesions in the Elderly: Precancer and Cancer

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Skin lesions, both precancers and cancers, are more common among the elderly White population, especially in exposed body parts such as head, face, neck, and hands. Earliest diagnosis is the key to treatment and survival. Awareness of a new skin lesion or change in a preexisting lesion, with or without pigmentation, flat or nodular, ulcerated or bleeding mandates prompt consultation followed by biopsy. For the cancer, surgical excision and repair remains the treatment of choice. Precancerous superficial lesions may be treated (after biopsy) with cryosurgery, topical chemotherapy, chemosurgery, or in cases of leukoplakia, electrodessication. Radiation may be considered for recurrent or metastatic disease.

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