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Bowen Disease

(Bowen's Disease; Intraepidermal Squamous Cell Carcinoma)

By

Gregory L. Wells

, MD, Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine

Last full review/revision Jan 2021| Content last modified Jan 2021
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Topic Resources

Bowen disease most commonly occurs on sun-exposed areas of the skin but may occur anywhere.

A biopsy Biopsy Doctors can identify many skin disorders simply by looking at the skin. A full skin examination includes examination of the scalp, nails, and mucous membranes. Sometimes the doctor uses a hand-held... read more Biopsy is the standard procedure for confirming the diagnosis of Bowen disease. During this procedure, doctors remove a piece of the tumor and examine it under a microscope.

Doctors may remove the cancer in the office by scraping and burning it with an electric needle (a procedure called curettage and electrodesiccation) or by cutting it out. Doctors may destroy the cancer by using extreme cold (cryosurgery), electrocautery, or by applying a chemotherapy drug Chemotherapy Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Although an ideal drug would destroy cancer cells without harming normal cells, most drugs are not that selective. Instead, drugs... read more to the skin).

Because squamous cell carcinomas seem to be related to UV exposure, doctors recommend a number of measures to limit UV exposure, starting in early childhood:

More Information about Bowen Disease

The following are some English-language resources that may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.

See the following sites for comprehensive information about squamous cell carcinoma, including detection, prevention, treatment options, and other resources:

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Ichthyosis is a form of severe dry skin that causes it to scale (build up excessive dry skin cells) and flake. Ichthyosis ranges in severity from mild to disfiguring, and may be either inherited or acquired. During which of the following time periods does inherited ichthyosis usually first manifest?
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