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Actinic Keratosis  
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Definition  

Actinic keratosis (AK) is abnormal growth of the skin. It results in a rough, scaly, or crusted patch of skin. AK tends to occur on sun-damaged skin.

AK is not cancer but it can sometimes change to squamous cell skin cancer. Treatment includes removing lesions and monitoring for skin cancer.

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Causes  

AK is caused by long term excessive sun exposure. Ultraviolet rays from sunlight can cause skin damage. Over time, this damage can cause abnormal growth of the skin such as AK.

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Risk Factors  

Factors that increase your chances of getting AK include:

  • Fair skin color
  • Easy sunburning
  • Extra exposure to sun
  • Occupations or pastimes in sunlight such as farmer, lifeguard, or athlete in outdoor sports