Actinic Keratosis (a.k.a. Solar Keratosis)
- Actinic keratoses (AKs) are the most common epithelial precancerous skin lesions.
- They present as scaly, erythematous, ill-defined papules on sun-exposed areas.
- A small percentage of AKs may progress to non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) over a lifetime.
- Therapy is determined by anatomic location and number of lesions.
Actinic keratoses (AKs) typically present as scaly, erythematous papules or plaques on sun-exposed areas, and are the most common epithelial precancerous skin lesions. Clinical variants of AKs include: erythematous, atrophic, hyperkeratotic, pigmented and lichenoid forms. AKs on the lower lip are termed actinic cheilitis. Treatment is necessary because approximately 2-15% of lesions may progress to non-melanoma cutaneous skin cancer (NMSC).
Three strategies for treatment are most frequently employed:
- Physical destruction
- Topical chemotherapy
- Local stimulation of the immune system
Therapy is determined by location (face, scalp, forearms or legs) and extent (few versus multiple).