Keratoacanthomas is a very common skin lesion that occurs on sun-damaged skin. They may frequently arise on the face, ears, nose and limbs. Keratoacanthomas are thought to be a variant of an SCC, but KAs may resolve over months. Skin Cancer Doctors will often take a biopsy to tell the difference between KAs and SCCs. Keratoacanthomas present as a warty growth that can erupt over days to weeks, and rapidly grow over time. Early identification is best management.
Important Facts on Keratoacanthomas
Keratoacanthomas are wart like lesions that occur on UV exposed sites, such as the ears, nose, face and limbs. They are most commonly seen in elderly patients, especially those who have a background of sun-damage. They are thought to be related to a more sinister skin cancer called a Squamous Cell Cancer.
Read more about Squamous Cell Cancers
The high UV index of Brisbane contributes to the formation of Keratoacanthomas. The incidence of KAs per capita is higher in northern cities and towns compared to Melbourne or Sydney.
In England we use to call this a 6-6-6 tumour, 6 weeks to reach maximum size, 6 weeks to stay, and if it resolves it will take 6 weeks. It is advisable not to have the ‘wait and see’ approach as KAs may resemble more sinister cancers such as SCCs.
Major causes of KAs include-
2. UV radiation
3. Immune suppression
5. Some cases related to HPV infection
6. Rare genetic conditions
Treatment options for KAs include-
1. Surgery: most common treatment with highest cure rate
2. Curette: Great treatment for KAs and frequently used by dermatologists
3. Radiotherapy- great for marginal KAs and in the elderly
Excellent. Once removed by surgery, KAs very seldom recur. (Exceptions are centrifugum varieties, genetic KAs seen in England, and immune suppressed patients).
What is important is that patients who have had KAs ensure that they have their skin checked at least once every 4-6 months for other forms of skin cancers. KAs often occur in sun-damaged skin, associated with solar keratosis, BCCS and even melanomas. Your skin cancer doctor will guide you in regards to follow up intervals.
Keratoacanthomas are very common skin cancers seen in Queensland. The high UV index of Brisbane and other northern cities predisposes to KAs. Fortunately this form of skin cancer is less aggressive than melanomas and SCCs. In fact, death is very, very, very rare following a KA.
Skin cancer doctors at My Skin Clinics are trained to diagnose, manage and follow up patients with this common, but relatively harmless tumour. Early management is the key.