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Bowen Disease

Abstract

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NORD is very grateful to Colin A. Morton, MD, Consulting Dermatologist, NHS Forth Valley, Stirling, UK, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Bowen Disease

  • Squamous cell carcinoma in situ

Disorder Subdivisions

  • No subdivisions found.

General Discussion

Bowen disease is a rare skin disorder. Affected individuals develop a slow-growing, reddish scaly patch or plaque on the skin. Sun exposed areas of the skin are most often affected. Bowen disease only affects the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis). Lesions are usually not painful or may not be associated with any symptoms (asymptomatic). In most cases, treatment is highly successful. Bowen disease is considered a pre-cancerous condition, although the risk of developing skin cancer is less than 10 percent. The disorder usually affects older adults. The exact cause of Bowen disease is unknown, although there are identified risk factors such as chronic sun exposure.

Bowen disease was first described in the medical literature by a physician named JT Bowen in 1912. Bowen disease is also known as squamous cell carcinoma in situ, and is generally considered an early, noninvasive form of intraepidermal squamous cell carcinoma. Intraepidermal means that the disease occurs inside the epidermal layer of the skin.

Bowen Disease Resources

Please note that some of these organizations may provide information concerning certain conditions potentially associated with this disorder.

Organizations:

The information in NORD’s Rare Disease Database is for educational purposes only. It should never be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes. If you have questions regarding a medical condition, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. NORD’s reports provide a brief overview of rare diseases. For more specific information, we encourage you to contact your personal physician or the agencies listed as “Resources” on this report.

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