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October 1961

An Association Between Bowen's Disease and Internal Cancer

Author Affiliations


From the Medical School of the University of Minnesota: Medical student (Dr. Peterka); Clinical Associate Professor, Division of Dermatology (Dr. Goltz), and Professor and Director, Division of Dermatology (Dr. Lynch).

Arch Dermatol. 1961;84(4):623-629. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580160087015

In 1959 Graham and Helwig reported a study of the relationship between Bowen's disease and visceral cancer.1 In their study of 35 patients with Bowen's disease who came to autopsy or who died after surgical pathological examination of internal organs 28 (80%) were observed to have one or more primary internal cancers or a primary cancer of the skin with metastases at an interval averaging 8.5 years after the appearance of Bowen's disease. Of those patients still living, 23 of more than 100 were found to have associated internal malignant disease. In view of these results a follow-up study of patients with Bowen's disease was begun in the Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Hospitals. The purpose of the study was to evaluate such a series to determine whether such correlation as reported could be found between the disease and internal malignancies.

Method of 

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