Bowen’s disease looks like a red, scaly area or patch, on the skin. It is caused by the abnormal growth of cells in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). The cells do not spread into the deeper layers of the skin. Bowen’s disease is more common in women. It usually affects people in their 60s and 70s.
Bowen’s disease is sometimes called squamous cell carcinoma in situ. If it is not treated, it can occasionally develop into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). This happens in a small number of people (about 3 to 5 out of every 100 who have Bowen’s disease). SCC is a common, curable type of skin cancer. It affects the outer layer of the skin, but can spread to deeper layers. If left untreated for a long time, SCC can spread to other parts of the body.