GentleCure Blog

What is Bowen’s Disease?

Dermatologist inspecting a patient's skin

Bowen’s disease is a rare skin disorder that affects the outermost layer of the skin. While the exact causes are unknown, the Bowen’s disease skin disorder is considered as a precursor to squamous cell carcinoma, and is typically classified as a precancerous condition. As with most skin conditions, early detection is one of the best defenses in treatment, so let’s dig deeper into what Bowen’s disease is and what Bowen’s disease looks like. 

What Does Bowen’s Disease Look Like? 

Bowen’s disease is also referred to as squamous cell carcinoma in situ, and can present similar-looking lesions. Patients with the Bowen’s disease skin disorder often report a reddish scaly patch that continues to grow over an area of skin, resulting in dry, slightly raised sores. It is sometimes mistaken for psoriasis or eczema due to visual similarities. In most cases, the lesions will appear without any other symptoms, but they can result in: 

  • Itchy skin
  • Sores that bleed, pus, or crust over 
  • Tender areas

Reddish-brown scaly patches are the most common form of what Bowen’s disease looks like, but it can also present with more darkly pigmented lesions that can develop warts or split open. Most patients only see one patch at a time, but it is possible for Bowen’s disease to develop across the body. 

Similarly to squamous cell carcinoma, Bowen’s disease is most likely to form on areas of the body that see more sun. Chronic sun exposure is likely a contributor to this disorder but the exact cause is unknown. Patients most frequently see lesions develop on their: 

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Face
  • Lower legs 

Is Bowen’s Disease Skin Cancer? 

Bowen’s disease is considered precancerous, meaning the patient is at an increased risk of developing skin cancer but has not done so yet. This disorder is also referred to as squamous cell carcinoma in situ — ”in situ” means the cancerous cells have yet to progress past the outermost layer of the skin. Once they move into deeper layers, skin cancer begins to take hold. Squamous cell carcinoma is a slow-developing cancer but it is still important to see your dermatologist as soon as you have concerns. 

Bowen’s Disease Treatment 

While there is no one way to treat Bowen’s disease, many of the methods are similar to treating squamous cell carcinoma. Bowen’s disease treatment options depend on a number of factors, including the size of the lesion, where it is located on the body, and the age and health of the patient. Potential options include: 

  • Topical chemotherapy
  • Cryotherapy 
  • Curettage
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Mohs surgery  

Image-Guided SRT is used to treat squamous cell carcinoma and can be a beneficial Bowen’s disease treatment option as well, offering non-invasive yet effective results. 

Discuss Your Bowen’s Disease Treatment Options With a Dermatologist Who Understands Your Situation

Now that you know what is Bowen’s disease, it’s time to discuss treatment options. Fortunately, there are safe non-melanoma skin cancer treatments out there without surgery; learn more about Image-Guided SRT and call 855-936-4411 to speak to a Skin Cancer Information Specialist today.

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For more information on skin cancer treatment options, speak with a Skin Cancer Information Specialist today.

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