Dermatology (Skin conditions)

Bowen’s Disease


This is a localised skin growth confined to the top layer of the skin. Bowen's disease usually appears as a red scaly patch often on the legs. There may be more than one patch. It is usually the result of long-term sun exposure. It is not infectious. The patches grow very slowly and, while they can be a nuisance they do not cause any serious harm. Occasionally they can develop into a true skin cancer, which will require surgical removal.

Bowen's disease itself can be treated by freezing, surgical removal or by the use of a special cream. If the patch is not troublesome, however, the doctor may simply suggest that it is kept under observation.

Bowen's disease is caused by excessive sun exposure. If you have had a patch of Bowen's disease you have a greater risk of getting a second. The risk can be reduced by reducing sun exposure whether by avoiding the sun or protecting the skin from sunlight by wearing appropriate clothing. Sunscreens may also help on sites that cannot be covered by clothing. If a sunscreen is used a total block (at least factor 15) is preferred.

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