Estimates have put the number of people at risk from some form precancer from actinic keratosis as high as 10 million. How can you tell if you are at risk? Here are some of the common risk factors that have been found to show the way to AK (Actinic Keratosis):
- Light Skin
- Fair Complexion
- Light Hair
- Eye Colour
Looking at each one, you can see why they may lead to AK because it seems that light-skinned people are more susceptible to the lesions that eventually develop into squamous tumors that are among the body’s most aggressive.
A fair complexion is another key and while this may seem like we are restating the point we just made above, it is not quite the same thing. For example, if you are of Scandinavian descent, you will likely have both light skin and a fair complexion, but if you are from a Hispanic background, you may have light skin but a darker complexion and this will give you a greater degree of protection from AK as your body has already turned on the cells needed to protect you from the action of the sun.
Light hair seems to be another oxymoron, right? But think about this, there are many light-skinned Mediterannean people whose skin may be darker but whose hair may be on the light side. Indeed, there are some Asian people who have dark skin but who do have light hair. Interestingly, their genetic predisposition may put them at lower risk but it is still something to think about.
Eye color seems to be a dead giveaway as people with blue, green or gray eyes seem to be more prone to AK than others.
So, what have we learned about the AK and a predisposition to it? The body type that is described by this a European or Northern European, someone from one of the colder climates as the person who is the most likely to suffer from this precursor to cancer.
Here are a couple of other interesting obsrevations and the first is that if you live long enough and spend time in the sun, then you will likely get AK and the closer you live to the equator, the more likely you will, at some time, suffer from AK. One other interesting fact is that this seems to strike men more than women.