How is Bowen's disease related to squamous cell carcinoma?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner
Bowen's disease, also called squamous cell carcinoma in situ or intraepidermal squamous cell carcinoma, is a very early type of squamous cell carcinoma. At this stage, the cancer is only in the epidermis (the topmost layer of skin) and has not yet begun to spread. Bowen's disease causes a red, scaly or crusty patch of skin that may look like psoriasis. It usually is seen in areas exposed to the sun, but as it can be related to the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), it may also be seen in the genital or anal area. This type of squamous cell carcinoma is quite treatable, and it's usually treated by surgically removing the lesion. If it's not treated in this stage, Bowen's disease may advance and lead to later stages of squamous cell carcinoma. Because of this, it's important to talk to your doctor if you notice symptoms that may be caused by Bowen's disease.

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