Driver Aric Almirola is lending his voice to a national public education program to raise awareness of actinic keratosis (AK) -- a potential early warning sign of skin cancer -- as well as the long-term consequences of sun damage over a lifetime. The national campaign, "Is it AK or OK?" is sponsored by Graceway Pharmaceuticals, LLC, in partnership with The Skin Cancer Foundation.
Graceway is the primary sponsor of the No. 15 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra for the remainder of the 2009 series season. "Aric is a tremendous driver and we are proud to work with him to help raise awareness of the realities of life-long sun exposure," said Jeff Gregory, CEO and Chairman, Graceway Pharmaceuticals.
AK is a visible sign of accumulated sun damage caused by harmful UV rays. Many people have never heard of AKs and yet these flat, scaly patches on the sun-exposed skin are the most commonly treated condition by dermatologists and are a leading diagnosis at skin cancer screenings.
- It is estimated that about 10 million Americans currently have AK.
- Anyone who has previously had an AK is at a higher risk for developing new AKs or skin cancer.
- Approximately 10% of AKs may develop into a potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
- The incidence of AK is slightly higher in men, because they tend to spend more time in the sun and use less sun protection than women.
"I'm protected from the sun when I'm racing, but my fans aren't," said Almirola. "Because sun exposure is the cause of most skin cancers, fans should always use sunscreen and see a dermatologist for regular skin checks, especially if they notice something abnormal."
Graceway Pharmaceuticals, LLC