Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis, also known as a solar keratosis, is a scaly or crusty growth (lesion). It most often appears on the bald scalp, face, ears, lips, backs of the hands and forearms, shoulders, neck or any other areas of the body frequently exposed to the sun. You’ll often see the plural, “keratoses,” because there is seldom just one.

In the beginning, actinic keratoses are frequently so small that they are recognized by touch rather than sight. It feels as if you were running a finger over sandpaper. Patients may have many times more invisible (subclinical) lesions than those appearing on the surface.

Most often, actinic keratoses develop slowly and reach a size from an eighth to a quarter of an inch. Early on, they may disappear only to reappear later. Most become red, but some will be light or dark tan, pink, red, a combination of these, or the same color as your skin. Occasionally they itch or produce a pricking or tender sensation. They can also become inflamed and surrounded by redness. In rare instances, actinic keratoses can even bleed.

If you have actinic keratoses, it indicates that you have sustained sun damage and could develop any kind of skin cancer – not just squamous cell carcinoma.

 

Causes

Chronic sun exposure is the cause of almost all actinic keratoses. Sun damage to the skin is cumulative, so even a brief period in the sun adds to the lifetime total. Cloudy days aren’t safe either, because 70-80 percent of solar ultraviolet (UV) rays can pass through clouds. These harmful rays can also bounce off sand, snow and other reflective surfaces, giving you extra exposure.

The ultraviolet radiation given off by the lamps in a tanning salon can be even more dangerous than the sun, so dermatologists warn against indoor tanning.

Occasionally, actinic keratoses may be caused by extensive exposure to X-rays or a number of industrial chemicals.

CRAT is recruiting and compensating those with a clinical diagnosis of Actinic Keratosis with at least 5 and no more than 10 clinically typical, visible, or palpable AK lesions excluding the the ears but not limited to the face or bald scalp.

 

 

Source: “What is Actinic Keratosis” “What is it”.http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/actinic-keratosis/what-causes-actinic-keratosis. 2016. Dec2016.


Think you might qualify? Got questions about the study? Great! Fill out our Volunteer Interest Form or give us a call (757-627-6798) for more information on this research study. Do not forget to call our 24-hour hotline at 757-627-6798 to enter out listing!