Keratoacanthoma (KA) may be a rapidly growing carcinoma usually appearing as a volcano-like bump on the sun-exposed skin of middle-aged and elderly individuals. Many scientists consider keratoacanthoma to be a less serious sort of epithelial cell carcinoma. Most keratoacanthoma cause only minimal skin destruction, but a couple of behave more aggressively and may spread to lymph nodes.
Who's at risk?
Keratoacanthoma is most ordinarily seen in elderly, light-skinned people with a history of sun exposure.
Risk factors for the development of keratoacanthoma include:
Ø Age over 50
Ø Fair skin, light hair, or light eyes
Ø Chronic exposure to sunlight or other ultraviolet light
Ø Exposure to certain chemicals, such as tar
Ø Exposure to radiation, such as X-ray treatment for internal cancers
Ø Long-term suppression of the immune system, such as organ transplant recipients
Ø Long-term presence of scars, such as from a gasoline burn
Ø Chronic ulcers
Ø Presence of particular strains of the wart virus (human papillomavirus)
Ø Previous skin cancer
Signs and Symptoms
The most common locations for keratoacanthoma include:
Ø Center of the face
Ø Backs of hands
Ø Lower legs, especially in women
There are no effective self-care treatments for keratoacanthoma. Preventing sun damage is crucial to avoiding the event of keratoacanthoma:
Ø Avoid ultraviolet (UV) light exposure from natural sunlight or from artificial tanning devices.
Ø Wear broad-spectrum sunscreens (blocking both UVA and UVB) with SPF 30 or higher, reapplying frequently.
Ø Wear wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts.
Ø Stay out of the sun in the middle of the day (between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM).
When to Seek Medical Care
If you develop a replacement bump (lesion) on sun-exposed skin, or if you've got a spot that bleeds easily or doesn't seem to be healing, then you ought to make an appointment with your primary care physician or with a dermatologist. You should also make a meeting if an existing spot changes size, shape, color, or texture, or if it starts to itch, bleed, or become sore to the touch.
Try to remember to tell your doctor when you first noticed the lesion and what symptoms, if any, it has. Also, young adults should ask adult relations whether or not they need ever had a carcinoma and relay this information to their physician.
Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe
If left untreated, most keratoacanthoma spontaneously disappear (resolve) within 6 months, leaving a depressed scar. However, they'll cause significant damage to the skin and underlying layers of tissue also as psychological distress. Additionally, rare sorts of keratoacanthoma may spread (invade) aggressively below the skin level and into the lymph glands, and your doctor has no thanks to tell this sort from the more common form. Therefore, prompt diagnosis and treatment are recommended.
If your physician suspects a keratoacanthoma, he or she is going to first want to determine the right diagnosis by performing a biopsy. The procedure involves:
Ø Numbing the skin with an injectable anesthetic.
Ø Sampling a small piece of skin by using a flexible razor blade, a scalpel, or a tiny cookie cutter (called a "punch biopsy"). If a punch biopsy is taken, a stitch (suture) or 2 could also be placed and can got to be removed 6–14 days later.
Ø Having the skin sample examined under the microscope by a specially trained physician (dermatopathologist).
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