This page is part of Toronto dermatologist Dr. Michelle Levy’s dermatology library. Please read our disclaimer for more information.
Bowen's Disease (also known as squamous cell carcinoma in-situ), is a type of skin cancer that is localized to the epidermis (the top layer of the skin).
Bowen's is thought to be caused by sun exposure and is most common in light-skinned individuals. It presents as a slowly-growing scaly red patch that may occur anywhere on the body but is more common in sun-exposed sites. Approximately 5% of cases of Bowen's disease will turn in to invasive squamous cell carcinomas, and areas of bowen's disease should be treated to prevent this. Unless bowen's disease becomes a squamous cell carcinoma it can not spread beyond the skin.
Treatment options include:
Topical creams such as imiquimod or 5-flurouracil
Cure rates are generally quite high for most treatment modalities.