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Keratoacanthoma - Symptoms & Treatment


A keratoacanthoma is a skin disrdered growth that is round and firm, like a pimple, but has a solid center made up of keratin. Keratin is a protein found in human hair and nails. A Keratoacanthoma lesion, also called "KA" by dermatologists, contains keratin and may look much like a red or pink volcano with an eruptive central plug of compact or breaking scale. They are more common in men. The KA is considered a form of squamous-cell carcinoma by most authorities

Symptoms of Keratoacanthoma

Keratoacanthoma may be develop by anyone but they are more common in people who have a history of sun exposure. Commonly, more than one KA can arise on the leg, either all at once or over time. This special version of KA is called multiple "keratoacanthoma of the leg" and can be particularly distressing to both patients and doctors. Keratoacanthomas usually appear on areas of the skin that are most exposed to the sun, such as the back of the hand, the forearm, and the face. They usually shrink within six months, which pushes out the center plug of keratin and may leave behind a depressed scar.

Causes of Keratoacanthoma

There are many causes of Keratoacanthoma. A keratoacanthoma occurs when cells in a hair follicle grow abnormally. This growth seems to be triggered by a minor injury to the skin, such as a bump or scrape, in an area that had past sun damage, these are following :

  • The definitive cause of KA remains unclear; however, several potentiating factors should be considered.
  • Industrial workers exposed to pitch and tar have been well established as having a higher incidence of KA.
  • Trauma, human papilloma virus genetic factors, and immunocompromised status also have been implicated as etiologic factors.
  • Sunlight is thought to be a factor in the development of keratoacanthomas
  • Keratoacanthomas are more common in people who smoke.
  • Sometimes minor trauma to the skin occurs before the development of a keratoacanthoma.

Treatment of Keratoacanthoma

  • Keratoacanthomas are a type of skin cancer related to squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, so the recommended treatment is to have them removed surgically. Sometimes the biopsy will remove the whole tumor. If the tumor starts to come back after the skin biopsy, then the area will require surgical excision or sometimes a destructive technique such as liquid nitrogen is used.
  • Freezing If a keratoacanthoma is small it may be treated by freezing with liquid nitrogen with a spray or on a cotton wool swab.
  • Keratoacanthomas are treated by removing the growth.
  • Skin growths should always be checked by a doctor because of the possibility of skin cance.
  • Any remaining keratoacanthoma tissue is destroyed with an instrument that sears (cauterizes) Keratoacanthoma.

 

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