An actinic keratosis is a rough, scaly patch on your skin that develops from years of exposure to the sun. It's most commonly found on your face, lips, ears, back of your hands, forearms, scalp or neck. Also known as solar keratosis, an actinic keratosis enlarges slowly and usually causes no signs or symptoms other than a patch or small spot on your skin.
Over time, actinic keratoses may develop into invasive squamous cell carcinoma; according to one study of almost 7000 patients, among the small percentage of actinic keratoses that progress into squamous cell carcinoma, the length of time for this transformation to occur was approximately 2 years.Cells within actinic keratoses (AKs) show characteristic UV-induced gene mutations.
The total number of AK cryotherapy treatments increased from 247,515 in 1994 to 643,622 in 2012, and we estimate that the number of treatments will increase to 831,952 (95% CI 676,919 to 986,987) by 202. The total Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) benefits paid out for AK in 2012 was $19.6 million and we forecast that this will increase to $24.7 million by 2020 (without inflation).
Cryotherapy Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy is the primary treatment for solar keratoses in Australia. Most solar keratoses are treated with a short (2-5 seconds) freeze. This effectively removes about 70% of all solar keratoses treated. Cryotherapy is most suited for low-risk primary tumours of basal cell carcinoma or Bowen's disease (squamous cell carcinomain situ) on the trunk and limbs. It has lower cure rates on the face so is not recommended for treating facial skin cancers.