• Actinic keratosis (AK) is considered the earliest stage in the development of skin cancer. If left untreated it may turn into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. AK typically appears on sun-exposed areas such as the face, bald scalp, lips, and the back of the hands, and is often elevated, rough in texture, and resembles a wart. Most become red, but some will be tan, pink, red, and/or flesh-toned. The lesion is dry, scaly and rough (like sandpaper), ranges from the size of a pinhead to larger than a 25 fil coin.

    AK is a common lesion of the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis) and it is caused by long-term exposure to sunlight. However, the following groups of people are more likely to develop the condition:

    • People with fair skin, blue or green eyes, or blonde or red hair
    • Those who have had a kidney or other transplant
    • People who take medicines that suppress the immune system
    • Individuals who experienced many severe sunburns early in life
    • Older people
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