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Definition of Actinic keratosis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Actinic keratosis: Rough, scaly patches of skin that are considered precancerous and are due to sun exposure. Prevention is to cut sun exposure and wear sunscreen. Treatments include performing cryosurgery (freezing with liquid nitrogen), cutting the keratoses away, burning them, putting 5-fluorouracil on them, and using photodynamic therapy (injecting into the bloodstream a chemical that collects in actinic keratoses and makes them more sensitive to destruction by a specialized form of light). Also known as solar keratosis and senile keratosis.

Reviewed on 12/4/2018

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