Skin Cancer: Basal and Squamous Cell

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Treating Skin Cancer - Basal and Squamous Cell TOPICS

Treating actinic keratosis and Bowen disease

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis is often treated because it can turn into squamous cell cancer. But because this risk is low, treatments are generally aimed at avoiding scars or other disfiguring marks as much as possible.

Actinic keratosis is commonly treated with either cryosurgery or topical creams or gels such as fluorouracil (5-FU), imiquimod, diclofenac, or ingenol mebutate. These treatments destroy the affected area of the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, which usually cures actinic keratosis.

Other localized treatments (shave excision, curettage and electrodesiccation, photodynamic therapy, laser surgery, chemical peeling) are also sometimes used.

Bowen disease

Bowen disease (squamous cell carcinoma in situ) is usually treated by excision. Curettage and electrodesiccation, radiation therapy, topical fluorouracil (5-FU), and cryosurgery are other options. Laser surgery or topical therapy may be considered in special situations.


Last Medical Review: 04/02/2015
Last Revised: 04/03/2015