Bowen’s disease is a type of squamous cell carcinoma that remains in the superficial layer of the skin (i.e. intraepithelial carcinoma in situ). This disease may involve any of the mucous membranes, but where I see it most commonly is on the skin of older individuals. Unlike traditional squamous cell carcinoma which has a predilection for sun-exposed skin, Bowen’s disease can also occur on non-exposed areas.
These tumors typically appear as a solitary lesion with sharply defined borders, and a dull, reddish, scaly appearance. These lesions commonly itch, and may ooze and crust if you scratch them.
Bowen’s disease is treated much like other non-melanoma skin cancers and should be removed surgically. I see many of these in my practice that end up requiring reconstruction following Moh’s excision. Although these tumors rarely penetrate deep, they can spread over a wide distance superficially and therefore can leave a significant defect once removed. Smaller lesions are sometimes treated with curettage and electro-dessication by many dermatologists.