Keratoacanthoma is a common type of skin cancer confined to the skin. These skin tumors or nodules grow from the hair follicle and usually grow rather quickly, sometimes over a matter of months.

They tend to be more common in men, and can go away on their own without treatment. They may initially seem like a pimple on the skin, but will grow into something more pronounced.

What causes keratoacanthoma?

Sunlight is thought to be a factor in the development of keratoacanthomas, and they are more common in people who smoke and older individuals.

Sometimes minor trauma to the skin occurs before the development of the cancer, and there may be some relation to the HPV virus.

What are the treatment options for these tumors?

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.

It is very important to see the doctor if a keratoacanthoma starts to come back. Failure to do so could be life threatening as this type of cancer has been known to spread to the internal organs. Depending on the size of the keratoacanthoma, you may or may not require stitches.

If you notice a pimple or mole that seems to be getting worse or changing in appearance, it’s always a good idea to visit your dermatologist to determine what the problem is. Usually he or she can make this determination with only a visual inspection, but skins tests and an biopsy might also be necessary.

Again, this type of cancer is not life-threatening on its own, but should definitely be diagnosed and treated as soon as it is discovered to prevent complications down the road.