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Bowen’s Disease

Squamous cell carcinoma in situ, often called Bowen’s disease, is a growth of cancerous cells that is confined to the outer layer of the skin.

It is not a serious condition, and its importance rests on the fact that, very occasionally, it can progress into an invasive skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma. For this reason, dermatologists usually treat, or at least monitor, Bowen’s disease.

Most cases of Bowen’s disease develop as a result of long-term sun exposure, and it is more likely in those receiving long-term immunosuppression medication.

Areas affected include sun-exposed areas such as the face, scalp, neck, hands and lower legs.

Bowen’s disease treatment

Bowen’s disease dermatology therapies include:

  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen or cryotherapy
  • Curettage
  • Excision
  • 5-fluorouracil cream

We provide all the dermatology treatment options above at Clinica London.


Cryotherapy involves the removal of some skin lesions by freezing them with liquid nitrogen in the clinic room. No special preparation is needed. We apply the cold liquid nitrogen directly onto the skin with a special spray gun.

Although you might feel slight local and temporary pain, cryotherapy does not normally need a local anaesthetic. The procedure only takes a matter of seconds. Depending on the nature of the lesion, more than one treatment may be necessary. This is usually repeated at regular intervals in the clinic. We will discuss this during your consultation.


Another treatment option we provide at Clinica London is curettage and cautery. Curettage involves surgical scraping of the area concerned, following application of local anaesthetic, and then using an electrical current to stop any bleeding. We carry this out in the procedure room. The sample is then sent to histopathology for detailed analysis.

Cream therapy

We can also use a cream therapy to treat the affected area. This can cause some reddening of the skin for the weeks that it is being applied.

Contact us for a Bowen’s disease consultation

During your consultation, we will discuss the various options available depending on the size, site and area involved.

A skin biopsy is often helpful in diagnosis. This involves injecting a local anaesthetic to the area and removing or sampling the area. We then send this to the histopathology laboratory for analysis. We would then bring you back to discuss all the results and what treatment you may need.

If you are considering treatment you can see our prices for treatment and consultation.

Read more about Squamous Cell Carcinoma treatment.

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