Actinic Keratosis

General Illness Information

Medical Term:
Keratosis, Actinic

Common Name: None Specified

Description: A small area of sun-damaged skin that is pre-cancerous. It involves skin of exposed areas, especially the scalp, face, ears, lips, arms and hands.

Causes: Prolonged exposure to the sun’s radiation.

Prevention:

  • Protect yourself against direct sun exposure.
  • When outdoors, wear a hat and protective clothing.
  • Use sunscreen lotions and creams with SPF rating of 15 or more.
  • Use sunscreens liberally and often.

Signs & Symptoms

Brownish or reddish scaly patches on exposed areas of skin. The patches are painless. The patches are poorly margined. They can be distinguished from seborrheic keratoses by their appearance, and that they are present only on the exposed areas of the skin.

Risk Factors

  • Chronic exposure to sun.
  • Fair-skinned persons.
  • Persons with blonde or red hair.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosis is by clinical examination and history.

General Measures:

  • If only a few actinic keratoses are present, cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen) is the most rapid and satisfactory treatment. If there are too many lesions to freeze, topical 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) applied to the affected area nightly or twice per day for 2 to 4 wk produces dramatic results.
  • Laser resurfacing is another therapeutic option.

Medications:

Only topical medications listed above are necessary.

Activity:

No restriction.

Diet:

No specific diet.

Possible Complications :

Skin cancer, if untreated.

Prognosis

Excellent with treatment. There is a higher chance of recurrence.

Other

‘Nothing Specified’.