Bowens Disease – Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

Bowens Disease is essentially a very early form or very early stage of skin cancer, although some consider it a pre-cancerous skin problem. This condition is also known as squamous cell carcinoma in situ or SCC in situ.

The disease is restricted to the outer layers of the skin matrix or the epidermis layer and fortunately will not spread internally to the lymph nodes except in a small percentage of cases. It is characterized by various skin symptoms such as: thick, slightly raised, and scaly patches on the surface of the skin, the patches are distinct and well-defined, the patches are dull red in appearance, and the patches may be singular or multiple patches may be present. Sometimes this skin problem is wart-like in appearance.

Bowen’s disease is a slow growing and slowly enlarging skin condition. In fact, it usually takes several months to notice any noticeable growth or spreading. It can be found on the legs – usually the lower leg areas, genitals, and trunk of the body and often found on body parts that are regularly exposed to the sun. Bowen disease is regularly confused with other commonly found skin problems such as skin rashes, skin fungus, eczema or psoriasis. It is not contagious.

What Causes Bowens Disease?

This skin problem is caused by arsenic exposure or ingestion of arsenic, too much exposure to the sun’s harmful ultra violet rays, immunosuppression health conditions such as AIDS, viral infections, skin injury, or aging.

This skin disease occurs mainly in people of adult age and usually affects individuals over 60 years of age. Below the age of 30, the presence of Bowen's disease is quite rare. Women are affected about three times more often than men.

What are the Treatments for Bowen’s Disease?

Treatments for this skin condition are usually very successful and involve the use of liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy). Laser treatment is also an effective option. A Flurouracil cream (a chemotherapy type treatment) can also be prescribed to deal with Bowen Disease. Alternatively, the affected skin and surrounding area can be surgically removed.

A physician or dermatologist usually administers these treatments after a proper diagnosis is made. Diagnosis involves taking a very small skin biopsy of the affected area and having it tested.

Treatment of the Bowens Disease skin condition is important in order to avoid the development of future skin and health complications. 

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