Actinic keratoses (AKs) are common and may be characterized by rough, red, scaly patches, crusts or sores. They are often referred to as “precancers” of the skin. In approximately 10-15% of cases, they transform to a skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
- AKs are usually found in fair-skinned people on their face, lips, scalp, neck, forearms, and back of the hands – areas of chronic sun exposure.
- Individuals with poor immune systems are also at greater risk for developing AKs.
- AKs are usually found on older people because they take years to develop; however, even people in their 20s and 30s can develop AKs.
- A number of therapies are available for AKs: cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen spray), Efudex cream (5-fluorouracil), Aldara cream (Imiquimod) and Photodynamic Therapy with Levulan (ALA-PDT) are among the most common therapies.