Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up


We will be discontinuing this community as of April 1, 2014. We value and appreciate your participation in this community and hope that you will continue to post your questions in the WebMD Cancer Community.
Did You Tan Before Being Diagnosed?
Skin Cancer Foundation
Michael W Steppie, MD posted:
Hi, I am Michael Steppie, MD , board-certified in Dermatology/Internal Medicine and MOHS MicroGraphic Skin Cancer Surgeon. I am glad to to be part of this community and provide you with valuable resource information.

As a dermatologist and skin cancer expert in the Sunshine state, I encounter many former "sun worshipers" that have been diagnosed with skin cancer. Were you a frequent "sun worshiper"? How has this changed your life? Do you now use daily sun protection with a broad-spectrum sunscreen?

Reply and share your experience.
Junior_Samples responded:
Hello Dr. Steppie,

I have been diagnosed and treated for both squamous cell and basal cell in the past. Both instances had good outcomes as they were caught very early. Also I frequently get the pre cancers that my dermatologist freezes, and I have annual skin checks.
Do my chances increase with age that I may develop a more serious form of skin cancer knowing that little bit of history ?
Also my doctor prescribed Solarayze gel to treat and prevent the pre cancers. Is this a good strategy ?
I am fair skinned and do take the preventitive measures.

Thanks !
Skin Cancer Foundation
Michael W Steppie, MD replied to Junior_Samples's response:
Routinely visit your dermatologist for a skin exam. An actinic keratosis (AK) is a precancerous lesion of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) that is caused by long-term, cumulative exposure to sunlight. Chronic sunlight exposure alters the keratinocytes (cells that make up the majority of the epidermis) and causes areas of the skin to become scaly, rough, discolored, crusty, and sometimes tender to the touch. AKs are most commonly found in sun-exposed areas such as the face, lips, ears, neck, scalp, forearms and backs of hands. People who have fair skin and light-colored hair and eyes are at greater risk of developing AKs.

AKs are not life-threatening, but should be diagnosed and treated in the early stages. If left untreated, aggressive AKs have the potential to progress into squamous cell carcinoma, a potentially serious type of skin cancer, which is occasionally life-threatening. Therefore, it is important to report any suspicious skin lesions to your dermatologist. According to the American Cancer Society, One in six people will develop an AK in their lifetime. Since cumulative sun exposure increases with age, older people are more likely to develop AKs. Patients with multiple AKs have a lifetime risk of progression to squamous cell carcinoma of 5% to 9%.

Common treatment options are cryosurgery (freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen), topical chemotherapy creams, photodynamic therapy, chemical peels and laser resurfacing therapy. Your dermatologist will help you decide which option is best for you.
Junior_Samples replied to Michael W Steppie, MD's response:
Thank you for your reply sir.

Health Insurance in Your State

Learn about plans, benefits, and costs in your state's Marketplace.

From WebMD

Helpful Tips

Font Size!
Don't forget you can increase your font size by hitting and holding Ctrl on your keyboard and the plus sign at the same time. Could be ... More
Was this Helpful?
17 of 28 found this helpful

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems to the
Food and Drug Administration

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.