PCDS actinic keratosis guideline

An actinic keratosis (AK) is a common sun-induced scaly or hyperkeratotic lesion, which has the potential to become malignant. NICE estimates that over 23% of the UK population aged 60 and above have an AK. Although the risk of an AK transforming into a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is very ...

Actinic keratosis (AK or solar keratosis) is a common skin lesion resulting from long-term sun exposure affecting 23% of the UK population over 60 years. These hyperkeratotic lesions carry risk of transformation to malignancy as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). This risk increases over time and with greater number of lesions present; having 10 AK lesions is associated with a 14% risk of developing an SCC within 5 years. Most cases are managed in primary care and treated with medicated creams and ointments.

This Guidelines summary includes recommendations on recognition and diagnosis of actinic keratosis, use of clinical findings, management and options for treatment. It includes an algorithm of the pathway from recognition to treatment in primary care, including red flags to recognise.

Please register to continue reading this content

Register for free

Guidelines for Nurses is completely free for UK-based doctors, nurses, and pharmacists