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Keratoacanthoma – Information for GPs


Keratoacanthama is a rapidly evolving skin lesion that resembles squamous cell carcinoma both clinically and histologically.

It usually occurs in sun-damaged skin and typically grows rapidly over 4-6 weeks to produce a dome shaped nodule with central ulceration or a keratin plug looking like a small volcano.

Following this the lesion spontaneously resolves over 4-6 months.

Exclude Red Flag Symptoms

Difficult to distinguish clinically from squamous cell carcinomas


All need referral for excision to either Dermatology or Maxillofacial surgeons under the 2 week rule as cannot exclude an SCC clinically.

Investigations prior to referral


Information to include in referral letter

  • Site and size of lesion
  • History and duration of complaint
  • Outline treatments already advised and tried including effects
  • Number of consultations patient has had for this condition in the last 6 months
  • Photograph is desirable
  • Relevant past medical /surgical history including any family history of cancer
  • Current regular medication
  • BMI/smoking status

Patient leaflets

Patient Information leaflet about Keratoacanthoma from the British Association of Dermatologists – click here

Excellent website with very good images – click here


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