Non-melanoma Skin Cancer in Canada Chapter 3: Management of Actinic Keratoses Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background Actinic keratosis (AK) and cheilitis (AC) are lesions that develop on photodamaged skin and may progress to form invasive squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Objective To provide guidance to Canadian health care practitioners regarding management of AKs and ACs. Methods Literature searches and development of graded recommendations were carried out as discussed in the accompanying introduction (chapter 1 of the NMSC guidelines). Results Treatment of AKs allows for secondary prevention of skin cancer in sun-damaged skin. Because it is impossible to predict whether a given AK will regress, persist, or progress, AKs should ideally be treated. This chapter discusses options for the management of AKs and ACs. Conclusions Treatment options include surgical removal, topical treatment, and photodynamic therapy. Combined modalities may be used in case of inadequate response. AKs are particularly common following the longterm immunosuppression in organ transplant patients, who should be monitored frequently to identify emerging lesions that require surgery.


  • Poulin, Yves
  • Lynde, Charles W
  • Barber, Kirk
  • Vender, Ronald
  • Claveau, Joël
  • Bourcier, Marc
  • Ashkenas, John

publication date

  • May 2015