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).
Actinic keratosis (AK) is a common skin condition associated with cumulative sun exposure. AK lesions possess the risk of progressing to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) , which is a common form of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Whereas AK lesions may regress spontaneously , persons who previously suffered from AK have an increased risk of developing new lesions .
Some treatments such as cryotherapy target single visible lesions (lesion-directed), whilst others, target an area or field, where visible and non-visible lesions are located (field-directed). Field-directed treatments, such as ingenol mebutate gel, will not only clear obvious AK lesions but also subclinical lesions, reducing the risk of developing new lesions.