Intended for healthcare professionals

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratoses, otherwise known as solar keratoses, are the most common premalignant skin lesion. Strongly associated with chronic exposure to ultraviolet light, their presence provides an indicator of high cumulative exposure and can be a risk indicator for nonmelanoma skin malignancies. There is debate as to whether AKs are genuinely premalignant, or whether they are actually early-stage squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). In a series of 459 patients with cutaneous SCC, 97% were associated with an adjacent actinic keratosis. The rate of progression of the lesions on to invasive SCC has been reported as being anywhere from 1:1,000 to as high as 1:5, although the general consensus favours the former.
Dermatology in practice 2001; 9(4): 26–29
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