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Clinical presentation of actinic keratoses and squamous cell carcinoma.

BACKGROUND: Actinic keratosis is a skin lesion that can progress to squamous cell carcinoma but cannot always be clinically distinguished from a squamous cell carcinoma.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article is to describe the clinical presentation of actinic keratoses and squamous cell carcinoma.

METHODS: The author's clinical experience and a review of the literature were used to describe actinic keratoses and squamous cell carcinoma.

RESULTS: There is a continuum and a progression from actinic keratoses to squamous cell carcinoma so that there is no way to reliably distinguish between the two diagnoses.

CONCLUSION: Because it can be impossible to distinguish between an actinic keratosis and squamous cell carcinoma, treatment of actinic keratoses should be aggressive to stop the progression to squamous cell carcinoma.

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