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Doctor insights on: Generally Actinic Keratosis

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Who is at generally risk for actinic keratosis?

Who is at generally risk for actinic keratosis?

H/o sunburns: Actinic keratoses are precancerous lesions caused by excessive sun exposure. The more sunburns you've had, the more risk of developing ak's. ...Read more

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Dr. Mike Bowman
950 doctors shared insights

Skin Cancer (Definition)

A condition in which some element of your skin--which is one of the most complex organs in the body--degenerates into cancer. The three most common types of skin cancer are: basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma which occur in that order and degree of aggressiveness. Although heredity plays a major role, sun exposure and tobacco use and ...Read more


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What is actinic keratosis?

What is actinic keratosis?

Pre-cancer: Actinic keratosis is a pre-cancerous skin lesion. It's a scaly area that feels sharp, like sandpaper or a glass shard, when you rub your finger over it. If untreated, it can become a squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. It is usually from sun damage. To treat it, liquid nitrogen or a cream called effudex is applied. Avoid sun exposure to avoid this! ...Read more

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What are symptoms of actinic keratosis?

What are symptoms of actinic keratosis?

Actinic Keraotsis: Actinic keratoses arise in chronically sun exposed sites, such as the backs of the hands, forearms and face. They usually present as rough scaly or crusty slightly red bumps on the skin. Sometimes, these lesions can be felt more than they can be seen. A rough patch on a sun exposed area may all that you notice. ...Read more

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How can I make actinic keratosis go away?

How can I make actinic keratosis go away?

Dermatologist appt: Unfortunately there is no studied over the counter treatment for actinic keratosis (ak). Since ak is a form of precancer, it is important to have it treated before it progresses. There are available treatments through a dermatologist that are effective (some topical, some freezing technique). ...Read more

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How is actinic keratosis usually diagnosed?

How is actinic keratosis usually diagnosed?

Clinical exam: Actinic keratoses are early precancerous lesions caused primarily by sun exposure over time. They are usually diagnosed by your dermatologist on clinical exam. In some cases a more advanced lesion may be biopsied to make sure it has not progressed to skin cancer. ...Read more

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What does actinic keratosis usually look like?

Scaly red papules: Actinic keratosis is a premalignant lesion that over time can evolve into squamous or basal cell carcinomas. They are usually small persistent crusty or scaly pink-red bumps. These are typically treated with liquid nitrogen destruction or topical creams such as Efudex or aldara (imiquimod). ...Read more

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Do all cases of actinic keratosis turn into scc?

Do all cases of actinic keratosis turn into scc?

No: In fact, relatively few of them do so. However, if you have been diagnosed with an ak, it is best to make sure you follow the recommended schedule of appointments with the doctor following your skin health. If you notice ulceration, bleeding, itching, or sudden spreading of an ak, get it checked out asap. ...Read more

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Does all cases of actinic keratosis need freezing?

Freeze, 5FU, Aldara (imiquimod): Actinic keratosis (ak) is a premalignant condition caused chiefly by sun exposure. If left untreated, ak can progress to squamous cell cancer of the skin. Treatments of ak include freezing using liquid nitrogen; 5-fu chemo cream; immune modifier cream aldara (imiquimod)... ...Read more

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How can I reduce the appearance and the feel of actinic keratosis?

None: Unfortunately there is no studied over the counter treatment for actinic keratosis (ak). Since ak is a form of precancer, it is important to have it treated before it progresses. There are available treatments through a dermatologist that are effective (some topical, some freezing technique). ...Read more

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Is laser actinic keratosis removal possible?

Is laser actinic keratosis removal possible?

Yes: Actinic keratoses are pre-cancerous skin lesions caused by sun exposure. Various treatments can be used, including liquid nitrogen (freezing), topical creams (imiquimod, fluoruracil, others), curettage (scraping), and medium-depth chemical peels. Laser treatments include co2 laser ablation and photodynamic therapy (laser treatment after application of a medication to the skin). ...Read more

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I heard actinic keratosis is pre-cancerous. How long would it take one to turn into ca?

I heard actinic keratosis is pre-cancerous. How long would it take one to turn into ca?

Varies: This is like asking how long it takes a child to turn into an adult, in some ways. It takes much longer for a 2 year old to turn into an adult than a teenager. We think it takes a number of years to convert, but I have seen patients treated for an actinic keratosis return with a squamous cancer in that area in less than a year. Was it really an actinic keratosis or was it an early squamous cell? ...Read more

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Is melanoma the same as actinic keratosis?

No.: An actinic keratosis is a premalignant lesion that may progress to develop into a squamous cell carcinoma. A melanoma is a malignant tumor involving the pigment cells (melanocytes) of the skin. ...Read more

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Can actinic keratosis be scraped clearly off by fingers?

Many of them can: Same with seborrheic keratoses / basal cell papillomas. However, you'll never get the base where the mutated cells are. Treat them with excision or topical meds that kill the mutated cells. ...Read more

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What is bowenoid actinic keratosis? Same as bowens disease?

Bowen disease: Bowenoid actinic keratosis is in-situ squamous cell carcinoma arising in actinic keratosis. Yes, it is also known as bowen disease. This is the earliest form (stage) of squamous cell skin cancer. ...Read more

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What is the best way to remove actinic keratosis (sun spots)?

What is the best way to remove actinic keratosis (sun spots)?

Actinic keratoses : Actinic keratoses are typically removed by prescription creams or treated with cryosurgery . See a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment options. ...Read more

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How long does it take for actinic keratosis to turn into cancer?

Variable: Actinic keratosis is considered a pre-cancerous condition, however, not all lesions become cancerous. There is controversy about terminology and some people consider actinic keratosis to be cancer. Treatment of the skin lesion can forstall the development of cancer. ...Read more

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Is actinic keratosis a real problem? Can I treat it with aldara (imiquimod)?

Possibly: Actinic keratosis (ak) is a sign that your skin has had excessive sun exposure. It may represent a "pre-cancerous" lesion as some will become skin cancers eventually. If you have ak's then you should have a thorough check up by a dermatologist to be sure you don't already have skin cancer and you can get advice on how best to treat your ak's. ...Read more

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How long does it typically take a cancerous actinic keratosis to turn into cancer?

Months to years: Actinic keratosis is precancerous. The full transformation into skin cancer is a result of multiple number of relevant mutations that "tips" it over to become cancerous. Thus, if an actinic keratosis happens to have most of the mutations except one additional before it turns into skin cancer, it may only take a month of additional uv exposure before that happens. ...Read more

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Is it possible to get actinic keratosis on an area of skin that has had little sun damage?

Is it possible to get actinic keratosis on an area of skin that has had little  sun damage?

Yes: It is common on face, scalp and arms, but can oocur on the legs, back or. Chest. Sun is major factor but light skin color and weakened local immune system are also factors. These are treatable with cream, cryosurgery, electrosurgery. ...Read more

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Dr. Emily Altman
41 doctors shared insights

Solar Keratosis (Definition)

Thickened and perhaps slightly pigmented skin with ultraviolet damage in high sun exposure skin. Usually ...Read more


Dr. Ronald Krauser
232 doctors shared insights

Keratosis (Definition)

The growth of ...Read more