Squamous cell carcinoma in situ (formerly called Bowen disease) most commonly occurs on sun-exposed areas of the skin but may occur anywhere.
There may be many carcinomas or only a few. The affected skin is red-brown and scaly or crusted and flat, sometimes looking like a patch of psoriasis Psoriasis Psoriasis is a chronic, recurring disease that causes one or more raised, red patches that have silvery scales and a distinct border between the patch and normal skin. A problem with the immune... read more , dermatitis Overview of Dermatitis Dermatitis is inflammation of the upper layers of the skin, causing itching, blisters, redness, swelling, and often oozing, scabbing, and scaling. Known causes include dry skin, contact with... read more , or a fungal infection called tinea or ringworm Overview of Dermatophytoses (Ringworm, Tinea) Dermatophytoses are fungal infections of the skin and nails caused by several different fungi and classified by the location on the body. Dermatophyte infections are also called ringworm or... read more .
Diagnosis of Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Situ
A biopsy Biopsy Doctors can identify many skin disorders simply by looking at the skin. A full skin examination includes examination of the scalp, nails, and mucous membranes. Sometimes the doctor uses a hand-held... read more is the standard procedure for confirming the diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma in situ. During this procedure, doctors remove a piece of the tumor and examine it under a microscope.
Treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Situ
Removal of the cancer
Doctors may remove the cancer in the office by scraping and burning it with an electric needle (a procedure called curettage and electrodesiccation) or by cutting it out. Doctors may destroy the cancer by applying extreme cold (cryosurgery), an electrical current (electrocautery), or chemotherapy Chemotherapy and Other Systemic Cancer Treatments Systemic treatments are those that have effects throughout the body rather than being applied directly to the cancer. Chemotherapy is a form of systemic treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer... read more to the skin.
Prevention of Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Situ
Because squamous cell carcinomas seem to be related to UV light exposure Ultraviolet light Sunlight stimulates vitamin D production, helps control some chronic skin diseases (such as psoriasis), and causes a sense of well-being. However, sunlight can cause skin damage. Damage includes... read more , doctors recommend a number of measures to limit UV light exposure, starting in early childhood:
Avoiding the sun Avoidance Sunburn results from a brief (acute) overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Overexposure to ultraviolet light causes sunburn. Sunburn causes painful reddened skin and sometimes blisters, fever... read more : For example, seeking shade, minimizing outdoor activities between 10 AM and 4 PM (when the sun’s rays are strongest), and avoiding sunbathing and the use of tanning beds
Wearing protective clothing Clothing Sunburn results from a brief (acute) overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Overexposure to ultraviolet light causes sunburn. Sunburn causes painful reddened skin and sometimes blisters, fever... read more : For example, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and broad-brimmed hats
Using sunscreen Sunscreens Sunburn results from a brief (acute) overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Overexposure to ultraviolet light causes sunburn. Sunburn causes painful reddened skin and sometimes blisters, fever... read more : At least sun protection factor (SPF) 30 with UVA and UVB protection used as directed and reapplied every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating but not used to prolong sun exposure
The following English-language resources may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.
American Cancer Society: What Are Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancers?: Information about skin cancers, including detection, prevention, treatment options, and other resources
The Skin Cancer Foundation: Squamous cell carcinoma: Information about squamous cell carcinoma, including detection, prevention, treatment options, and other resources