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.Histologically AKs share features with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
The prevalence of AK within the 2,061 studied participants of the RS was standardized by age (5-year bands) and sex, and 95% CIs for proportion were calculated. The sex- and age-specific prevalences were multiplied by the sex- and age-specific population size in the Netherlands (5-year bands).
Six hundred fifty-seven patients with new, single AK lesions without evidence of photo-damaged skin in the surrounding areas, were predominantly treated with lesion-directed therapies (primarily cryotherapy). In contrast, physicians preferentially prescribed field-directed therapies to patients with multiple lesions and evidence of photo-damaged skin in AK surrounding areas.