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Actinic keratoses are superficial neoplasms that develop from sun-damaged skin and, if not treated, may progress to cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. They tend to appear on the face, scalp, back of the hands, chest or other sun-exposed areas and often appear as flat, scaly, red or pink areas that may be easier to feel than see. According to Cancer Research UK, almost 100 000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year. This makes it the most common type of cancer by far. This type of cancer also tends to be under-reported. Treatment typically consists of liquid nitrogen cryotherapy, surgical removal, topical 5-fluorouracil, imiquimod, ingenol mebutate, topical diclofenac, retinoids, dermabrasion, chemical peels and/or photodynamic therapy (PDT). Deciding which treatment to choose depends on the size, location and number of lesions. For most cases the inexpensive remedy of liquid nitrogen is the treatment of choice, while those …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.