AK - what it might look like:
Ppublished with the permission from the New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated
Actinic Keratosis (AK)
Actinic keratosis (AK), also known as solar keratosis, is a skin condition caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation (i.e. sunlight). Some experts believe that AK is the earliest form of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a non-melanoma skin cancer, making it even more important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
The major cause
Chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation (ie. sunlight) causes AK; they appear more frequently on sun-exposed parts of the body: the face, neck, bald scalp, hands, shoulders, arms and back. The rim of the ear and the lower lip are especially vulnerable.
Who gets it
Today, 60% of all Canadians over age of 40 have at least one AK lesion - as the population ages, the incidence of AK will increase.
What to look for
The most common appearance of AK is a scaly plaque on a red base. They are typically 1 - 3 mm in diameter, but can be as large as several centimeters: