Actinic keratosis is a pre-cancerous scaly or crusted patch commonly found on sun-damaged skin of the head, neck, upper trunk and extremities. Lesions can range from early lesions with mild redness and subtle scale to advanced lesions with well-defined redness and thick scale.
Actinic keratosis can evolve into invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a form of skin cancer. The rate of development of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) over a 10-year period if the lesions were untreated ranged from 10-20% depending on the case series.
Treatment options include cryosurgery, electrodessication, photodynamic therapy, laser and topical medication to name a few.
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Individuals at higher risk of developing actinic keratosis include the elderly, those with lighter skin complexion and those with a history of chronic sun exposure.
Regular follow-up after the treatment is advised to ensure that no new lesions have developed and that the treated lesions have resolved.