Carcinoma in Situ of Skin

What is Carcinoma in Situ?

Bowen’s Disease or Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Situ

Squamous cell carcinoma in situ (in the upper layer of the skin) is the earliest recognizable form of squamous cell skin cancer (also known as Bowen’s disease.) This condition is also referred to as stage 0 squamous cell carcinoma, on the scale from 0 to IV. There are typically no visible symptoms. When symptoms are present, a scaly condition may be present, and the skin may seem to “catch” on clothing. The presence of abnormal cells may be detected by a pathologist. Although the cancerous cells have not yet invaded the deeper layers of the skin and the condition is not considered a serious condition, treatment at this early stage is generally recommended to help prevent this condition from developing into squamous cell carcinoma. In some cases, monitoring may be prescribed.

What is the Cause of Carcinoma in Situ?

There are many causes of carcinoma in situ, none of which are hereditary; however, fair skin and a tendency toward developing sunburn do increase the lifetime risk. Long-term exposure to the sun is one of the most common causes. In addition, long-term ingestion of immunosuppressive medications, chronic arsenic ingestion, radiotherapy, and infection with the human papillomavirus are associated as causative factors in the development of carcinoma in situ.

Treatments for Skin Carcinoma in Situ

A variety of treatment options exist for Bowen’s disease (carcinoma in situ of the skin.) The specific treatment prescribed will vary for each patient based on a complete medical examination. Some options include: surgical excision, cryotherapy, electrodesiccation, curettage, radiation, laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, 5-fluorouracil, and application of Imiquimod cream. If the condition is located on the ear or on a hair-bearing lip, it is at a higher than usual risk of spreading to lower dermal layers and into the nerves. As such, it will typically be treated more aggressively, regardless of any other factors.

Contact Allegheny Advanced Dermatology Center to schedule an appointment: (814) 944-7109. We provide prompt, exceptional treatments with care for our patients with carcinoma in situ of the skin.