Almirall Release: European Day Of Skin Cancer Prevention

It is estimated that up to 10% of Actinic Keratosis may advance to squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer1

Actinic Keratosis (AK), that affects approximately one out of three men over 70 years of age (18% of women), is a precancerous skin disease caused by continued exposure to the sun, some scientists interpret actinic keratosis as the earliest form of squamous cell carcinoma2

40-60% of squamous cell carcinomas begin as untreated actinic keratosis and may advance to invade the surrounding tissues. About 2 to 10% squamous cell carcinomas can spread to the internal organs and can become life-threatening1

In celebration of European Day of Skin Cancer Prevention, Almirall S.A., the global pharmaceutical company based in Barcelona, launches the awareness project “Derma Stories” with the main objective of bringing society closer to patients and families who suffer from dermatological conditions. This project falls within the “Shared Skin Initiative” campaign, which aims to raise awareness of dermatological conditions so that society can recognize the social and emotional impact that these diseases can cause in the quality of life of those who are affected.

The first story ‘Grandpa’s hat’ is related to actinic keratosis (AK), a less well-known skin condition but nonetheless very common which can develop into an invasive squamous skin carcinoma1.

Chronic sun exposure is the cause of almost all actinic keratosis. Sun damage to the skin is cumulative, so even a brief period in the sun adds to the lifetime total1.

Actinic keratosis or solar keratosis is a skin disease that manifests as spots or raised lesions of rough and squamous appearance in areas of the body exposed to the sun, which can be pink, red, brown or of the same color as the skin1.

Persistent lesions or spots of unusual colour, texture, shape or size, or any other lesion that bleeds easily, are symptoms that there may be a case of AK requiring a visit to the dermatologist to establish the severity of the lesion and consider performing a biopsy to rule out the presence of cancer cells3.

It is estimated that 40-60% of squamous cell carcinomas begin as untreated actinic keratosis and may advance to invade the surrounding tissues. About 2 to 10% squamous cell carcinomas can spread to the internal organs and can become life-threatening1. Therefore, early diagnosis of actinic keratosis becomes essential to prevent or reduce non-melanoma skin cancer incidence2.

“Especially outdoor workers are at risk to develop AK if they do not follow preventive measures. Very recently, squamous cell carcinoma and AK induced by exposure to natural sunlight were accepted as occupational disease”, affirms Prof. Rolf-Markus Szeimies, Head of the Dept. of Dermatology and Allergology, Klinikum Vest, Recklinghausen, Germany reported at the Spring Convention of the German Society of Dermatology in Leipzig. Along these lines, he pointed out that: “early diagnosis and a combination of both lesion and field-directed therapies is a mainstay in the control of AKs which affect so many people”.

The number of AK cases is increasing worldwide

The prevalence of AK is increasing worldwide. In Europe, more than one out of three men over 70 years of age (34%) and 18% of the women in that age group suffer from AK4. Prevalence increases as people become older, particularly after 60 years of age4.

Ultraviolet radiation is the main cause for the harmful effects of solar radiation on the body and the damage caused by the sun to the skin is cumulative, which means that the effects caused by any sun exposure are added to those that the body has suffered throughout its lifetime, since childhood2.

To prevent AK, exposure to the sun must be reduced when it is highest in the sky and its light is most intense, clothes should be worn covering the arms, legs and head, and sunscreens should be used with a protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more, half an hour before going outdoors, or with broad-spectrum protection to shield the skin from ultraviolet A and B rays1.

About Almirall

Almirall is a global company based in Barcelona dedicated to providing valuable medicines and medical devices through its R&D, agreements and alliances. Our work covers the whole of the drug value chain. A consolidated growth allows us to devote our talent and efforts towards specialty areas and particularly to further grow as a leading Dermatology player. We are a specialist company, enabling us to accomplish the purpose of taking our innovative products wherever they are needed.

Back to news