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PraKtis is a large scale prevalence study of actinic keratosis and other selected skin diseases in the general Italian population. Actinic keratosis are a frequent condition. They are a strong indicator of the risk of squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma and, as pre-cancer lesions, they can develop into invading squamous cell carcinomas. Actinic keratosis is strongly connected to chronic sun exposure and the incidence increases with age.

The PraKtis project, coordinated by Centro Studi GISED in collaboration with DOXA and the Laboratory of General Epidemiology at the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milan, ended up in May 2004 when a representative sample of 12'000 adult subjects was collected. The lifetime prevalence of several skin diseases was estimated in Italy.


Over 12,000 adults, 45 years or older, were contacted, interviewed and subjected to dermatological evaluation. The overall results show that around 34% of the population reported at least one dermatological visit in the past. Actinic keratosis was diagnosed in about 0.3% of the population and the most used treatments were: topical drugs, cryosurgery and curettage.

The prevalence of actinic keratosis was lower than estimates made in other countries such as the United States and Australia. The prevalence was higher among men than women and increased steadily with age, hours spent in the sun and signs of skin damage (e.g. facial wrinkles).

The degree of awareness about the presence of skin lesions was rather low: about 42% of the subjects with actinic keratosis were not aware of their own lesions. Only 25% of these had been diagnosed with the condition and a similar percentage had never been treated for the disease (1,2).

  1. Naldi L, Chatenoud L, Piccitto R, et al. Prevalence of actinic keratoses and associated factors in a representative sample of the Italian adult population: Results from the Prevalence of Actinic Keratoses Italian Study, 2003-2004. Arch Dermatol. 2006;142:722-6.
  2. Naldi L, Colombo P, Placchesi EB, et al. Study design and preliminary results from the pilot phase of the PraKtis study: self-reported diagnoses of selected skin diseases in a representative sample of the Italian population. Dermatology. 2004;208:38-42.

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