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Keratoacanthomas

A KA or keratoacanthoma refers to a type of skin cancer that is identified by its rapid growth and the appearance of volcano-like bumps. A keratoacanthoma normally affects the skin of middle-aged and older individuals which has been chronically exposed to sunlight. A majority of medical experts are in agreement about the fact that keratoacanthomas are a less serious form of squamous cell carcinoma. While most cases of keratoacanthomas lead to restrictive damage of the skin, a few instances have been found to be aggressive along with a propensity to spread to the lymph nodes.

Keratoacanthomas Symptoms

A few signs and symptoms of keratoacanthomas are discussed below:

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  • A keratoacanthoma begins and rapidly grows over a span of 2 to six weeks
  • It typically starts out in the form of a small lesion that is similar in appearance to a pimple. It then develops into a skin-colored, dome shaped growth with a dent in the center which is composed of keratin, i.e. the major protein that occurs in hair, skin and nails.
  • A keratoacanthoma varies in size measuring 1 to 2.5 centimeters
  • Most instances of keratoacanthomas are not painful, but a few can be quite itchy and distressing. Depending on the location the skin cancer, the regions experiencing a keratoacanthoma may exhibit impaired functionality
  • On rare occasions, a number of keratoacanthoma may occur as a sign of a more adverse underlying disorder
  • A keratoacanthoma generally tends to affect the scalp, the midsection of the face, posterior of the hands, forearms, and the ears. The lower legs can also develop keratoacanthomas, more so in women.

Causes of keratoacanthomas

  • Keratoacanthomas can be typically found to occur in fair-skinned, older people who have a past record of exposure to the sunlight.

A few risk factors that can increase the susceptibility to formation of keratoacanthomas are as follows:

  • An older age of over 50 years
  • Persistent exposure to the sun or other variants of UV light
  • Men are more commonly affected as compared to women
  • Occurrence of fair skin, light hair, or light eyes
  • Individuals who have undergone radiation therapy as treatment for cancer of internal glands are at increased risk to keratoacanthomas
  • Contact with certain harmful chemicals like tar
  • Long term suppression of the immune system. For e.g. post organ transplantation
  • Persistent case of ulcers
  • Prolonged case of scars, as in the case of gasoline burns
  • A previous case of skin cancer
  • Infection with particular strains of the wart virus. For example, human papillomavirus

Keratoacanthomas Treatment

  • A majority of keratoacanthomas that are left untreated often tend to unexpectedly fade away within 6 months, leaving a dimpled scar. However, keratoacanthomas tend to cause psychological agony and often result in significant damage of the skin and the layers of tissues occurring underneath.
  • It may also be noted that rare kinds of keratoacanthomas may forcefully migrate to below the skin and affect the lymph nodes. It is therefore necessary for patients to consult a doctor for evaluation of all instances of a keratoacanthoma
  • People should opt for diagnostic tests after the appearance of a new growth on sun exposed skin, or when bleeding is seen at a spot, or when such a spot refuses to heal. Medical attention is also required when a current spot changes in texture, shape, size or color, or if starts bleeding or itching, or is tender and sore to touch.

After the definite diagnosis of a skin anomaly as a keratoacanthoma, patients can opt for any of the below mentioned treatment procedures:

  • Cryosurgery, wherein liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the keratoacanthoma and thus destroy it
  • Surgical excision or removal of the keratoacanthoma and sowing together of the resultant wound
  • Radiation therapy involving use of specifically directed intense radiation beams to kill the cancer cells
  • Mohs micrographic surgery is a special kind of surgery involving removal of tiny pieces of keratoacanthoma affected skin, till it is fully eliminated. This procedure is very helpful in treatment of keratoacanthoma appearing on the nose, ears, lips and hands
  • Direct administration of chemotherapy drugs on keratoacanthomas are done in rare cases. Patients experiencing 2 or more keratoacanthoma lesions may be recommended oral isotretinoin for reducing the size and number of cancerous growths

After the successful elimination of keratoacanthomas, the patients are required to undergo regular checkups to detect and correct any possible relapse of the skin cancer. Patients are also required to follow the below listed self care measures to prevent the recurrence or a fresh case of keratoacanthomas.

  • Stay away from prolonged contact with the ultraviolet rays of the sun or from other artificial tanning machines
  • Sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher should be applied on the skin, when outdoors. Frequent reapplication of the sunscreen is recommended
  • Refrain from venturing outdoors during sunny conditions from ten in the morning to three in the noon
  • Shirts with long sleeves should be preferred. The use of wide brimmed hats is also recommended

A KA or keratoacanthoma refers to a type of skin cancer that is identified by its rapid growth and the appearance of volcano-like bumps. A keratoacanthoma normally affects the skin of middle-aged and older individuals which has been chronically exposed to sunlight. A majority of medical experts are in agreement about the fact that keratoacanthomas are a less serious form of squamous cell carcinoma. While most cases of keratoacanthomas lead to restrictive damage of the skin, a few instances have been found to be aggressive along with a propensity to spread to the lymph nodes.

Symptoms of keratoacanthomas

A few signs and symptoms of keratoacanthomas are discussed below:

  • A keratoacanthoma begins and rapidly grows over a span of 2 to six weeks
  • It typically starts out in the form of a small lesion that is similar in appearance to a pimple. It then develops into a skin-colored, dome shaped growth with a dent in the center which is composed of keratin, i.e. the major protein that occurs in hair, skin and nails.
  • A keratoacanthoma varies in size measuring 1 to 2.5 centimeters
  • Most instances of keratoacanthomas are not painful, but a few can be quite itchy and distressing. Depending on the location the skin cancer, the regions experiencing a keratoacanthoma may exhibit impaired functionality
  • On rare occasions, a number of keratoacanthoma may occur as a sign of a more adverse underlying disorder
  • A keratoacanthoma generally tends to affect the scalp, the midsection of the face, posterior of the hands, forearms, and the ears. The lower legs can also develop keratoacanthomas, more so in women.

Causes of keratoacanthomas

  • Keratoacanthomas can be typically found to occur in fair-skinned, older people who have a past record of exposure to the sunlight.

A few risk factors that can increase the susceptibility to formation of keratoacanthomas are as follows:

  • An older age of over 50 years
  • Persistent exposure to the sun or other variants of UV light
  • Men are more commonly affected as compared to women
  • Occurrence of fair skin, light hair, or light eyes
  • Individuals who have undergone radiation therapy as treatment for cancer of internal glands are at increased risk to keratoacanthomas
  • Contact with certain harmful chemicals like tar
  • Long term suppression of the immune system. For e.g. post organ transplantation
  • Persistent case of ulcers
  • Prolonged case of scars, as in the case of gasoline burns
  • A previous case of skin cancer
  • Infection with particular strains of the wart virus. For example, human papillomavirus

Treatment of keratoacanthomas

  • A majority of keratoacanthomas that are left untreated often tend to unexpectedly fade away within 6 months, leaving a dimpled scar. However, keratoacanthomas tend to cause psychological agony and often result in significant damage of the skin and the layers of tissues occurring underneath.
  • It may also be noted that rare kinds of keratoacanthomas may forcefully migrate to below the skin and affect the lymph nodes. It is therefore necessary for patients to consult a doctor for evaluation of all instances of a keratoacanthoma
  • People should opt for diagnostic tests after the appearance of a new growth on sun exposed skin, or when bleeding is seen at a spot, or when such a spot refuses to heal. Medical attention is also required when a current spot changes in texture, shape, size or color, or if starts bleeding or itching, or is tender and sore to touch.

After the definite diagnosis of a skin anomaly as a keratoacanthoma, patients can opt for any of the below mentioned treatment procedures:

  • Cryosurgery, wherein liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the keratoacanthoma and thus destroy it
  • Surgical excision or removal of the keratoacanthoma and sowing together of the resultant wound
  • Radiation therapy involving use of specifically directed intense radiation beams to kill the cancer cells
  • Mohs micrographic surgery is a special kind of surgery involving removal of tiny pieces of keratoacanthoma affected skin, till it is fully eliminated. This procedure is very helpful in treatment of keratoacanthoma appearing on the nose, ears, lips and hands
  • Direct administration of chemotherapy drugs on keratoacanthomas are done in rare cases. Patients experiencing 2 or more keratoacanthoma lesions may be recommended oral isotretinoin for reducing the size and number of cancerous growths

After the successful elimination of keratoacanthomas, the patients are required to undergo regular checkups to detect and correct any possible relapse of the skin cancer. Patients are also required to follow the below listed self care measures to prevent the recurrence or a fresh case of keratoacanthomas.

  • Stay away from prolonged contact with the ultraviolet rays of the sun or from other artificial tanning machines
  • Sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher should be applied on the skin, when outdoors. Frequent reapplication of the sunscreen is recommended
  • Refrain from venturing outdoors during sunny conditions from ten in the morning to three in the noon
  • Shirts with long sleeves should be preferred. The use of wide brimmed hats is also recommended

Keratoacanthomas Pictures

 

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