How would you describe actinic keratosis on a physical exam?

Physical Examination

Actinic keratoses begin as small rough spots that are easier felt than seen, often described as being similar to rubbing sandpaper. With time, the lesions enlarge, usually becoming red and scaly; most are only 3-10 mm, but they may enlarge to several centimeters.

What is the difference between keratosis and actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is a bit of a misnomer. Keratosis implies a benign condition but this is the only “keratosis” that can be a potential squamous cell carcinoma. Actinic keratosis (also known as solar keratosis or senile keratosis) is not as common on the feet and legs as it is on the head, neck and hands.

What is a characteristic of actinic keratosis Milady?

Actinic keratosis. A rough area resulting from sun exposure, sometimes with a layered scale or scab that sometimes falls off.

What are the 5 common risk factors of actinic keratosis?

  • Unprotected UV exposure. Chronic unprotected exposure to UV radiation is the leading cause of actinic keratosis. …
  • Geographic location. Living close to the equator where the UV rays are strong most of the year means more exposure to the sun’s harmful effects. …
  • Weakened immune system. …
  • Skin type. …
  • Age over 40. …
  • What you can do.

How can you tell the difference between squamous cell carcinoma and actinic keratosis?

The main difference between SCC in situ and AK is that in SCC in situ, the full thickness of the epidermis is involved with atypical proliferation of keratinocytes; whereas, in AK, the atypia is limited to lower levels of the epidermis and not its full thickness.

What can be mistaken for actinic keratosis?

The lesion you think may be an actinic keratosis could actually be skin cancer—even melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer that frequently develops as a skin-colored, pink or white lesion similar to an actinic keratosis.

What is the primary cause of actinic keratosis?

UV rays from the sun and from tanning beds cause almost all actinic keratoses. Damage to the skin from UV rays builds up over time. This means that even short-term exposure to sun on a regular basis can build up over a lifetime and increase the risk of actinic keratoses.

When should I worry about actinic keratosis?

When should I see my healthcare provider? You are less likely to develop skin cancer if actinic keratosis gets treated right away. You should call your healthcare provider if you notice: Bleeding, blistering, stinging or itchy skin.

Do actinic keratosis need to be removed?

Actinic keratoses do not necessarily need to be surgically removed. They can be treated by the application of gels and creams such as fluorouracil, imiquimod, ingenol mebutate or diclofenac. These topical applications are most effective if there are several closely spaced lesions on the skin.

What are the two types of keratosis?

Seborrheic keratosis and actinic keratosis can resemble each other. They both begin to appear after the age of 40, and they both can appear crusty and scaly. It’s important to know the difference because actinic keratosis is more serious than seborrheic keratosis.

How long does it take for actinic keratosis to become cancerous?

In summary, of the estimated 10% of AKs that will develop into an SCC, the progression will take approximately 2 years.

Can keratosis become cancerous?

Some actinic keratoses can turn into squamous cell skin cancer. Because of this, the lesions are often called precancer. They are not life-threatening. But if they are found and treated early, they do not have the chance to develop into skin cancer.

Can you pick off actinic keratosis?

While an actinic keratosis can sometimes resolve on its own, it usually recurs after further sun exposure; if scratched or picked off, it will return as well.