Non-melanoma Skin Cancer in Canada Chapter 3: Management of Actinic Keratoses
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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 long-term immunosuppression in organ transplant patients, who should be monitored frequently to identify emerging lesions that require surgery.
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