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Can You Get Skin Cancer On Your Ear

What Is The Treatment For Skin Cancer On The Ear

How to Examine Your Skin for Cancer | Skin Cancer

The most common type of treatment for ear cancer is surgery to remove the growth completely. If caught early, your dermatologist may be able to remove it with one of the following options:

If cancer has spread to the surrounding tissues, more invasive surgery may be required. Radiation is usually required after surgery to ensure that all cancer cells have been removed radiation therapy typically lasts about six weeks.

Depending on how advanced the cancer is, your surgeon and oncologist will determine how much tissue needs to be removed. When some or all of the outer ear is removed, a soft tissue flap is used to help the wound heal. A plastic surgeon may be needed to help with reconstruction. Other types of surgeries involve removing the ear canal and eardrum or the surrounding lymph nodes, if needed. Hearing aids and cochlear implants can be used to cope with hearing loss after surgery.

Health & Wellnessthe Big Mistake People Make When Applying Sunscreen To Their Face

Unprotected exposure to the suns ultraviolet rays is the most significant risk factor for skin cancer, yet more than a third of Americans, 35%, incorrectly believe or are unsure that as long as you dont burn, tanning is safe, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Gupman had been extremely religious about getting annual skin checks and hes had 10-15 suspicious moles removed from his body, but the biopsy results always came back as nothing to worry about. Taking a year off from his dermatologist visit was an acceptable risk, Gupman thought, and that’s when he developed melanoma.

To prevent skin cancer, the American Academy of Dermatology urged people to:

  • Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing and reapply it every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • Seek shade. The suns rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Wear sun-protective clothing, such as a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection, when possible.

How Your Doctor Decides On Treatment

The treatment you have depends on:

  • where in the ear the cancer is
  • the type of cancer you have
  • the size of the tumour
  • whether it’s spread beyond the area it started in
  • your general health

This page is about treatment for cancer that starts in the skin flap of your outer ear. Although the ear canal is part of the outer ear, its treatment is different.

You can read about treatment for cancer that starts in the ear canal on the pages about cancer of the ear canal, middle ear and inner ear.

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How Are Moles Evaluated

If you find a mole or spot that has any ABCDE’s of melanoma — or one that’s tender, itching, oozing, scaly, doesn’t heal or has redness or swelling beyond the mole — see a doctor. Your doctor may want to remove a tissue sample from the mole and biopsy it. If found to be cancerous, the entire mole and a rim of normal skin around it will be removed and the wound stitched closed. Additional treatment may be needed.

What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Cancer Of The Head And Neck

Skin Cancer Symptoms That Aren

Skin cancers usually present as an abnormal growth on the skin. The growth may have the appearance of a wart, crusty spot, ulcer, mole or sore. It may or may not bleed and can be painful. If you have a preexisting mole, any change in the characteristics of this spot – such as a raised or an irregular border, irregular shape, change in color, increase in size, itching or bleeding – are warning signs of melanoma. Sometimes the first sign of melanoma or squamous cell cancer is an enlarged lymph node.

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Ultraviolet Light And Other Potential Causes

Much of the damage to DNA in skin cells results from ultraviolet radiation found in sunlight and in the lights used in tanning beds. But sun exposure doesn’t explain skin cancers that develop on skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight. This indicates that other factors may contribute to your risk of skin cancer, such as being exposed to toxic substances or having a condition that weakens your immune system.

Learn More About Squamous Cell Carcinoma And How It Is Diagnosed And Treated

Accounting for only a fraction of a percentage of all head and neck tumors, cancer of the ear and temporal bone is considered rare. Yet a common place for squamous cell carcinoma to develop when it does affect the ear is within the temporal bone.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma is a form of skin cancer that develops within the middle and outer layer of skin in the ear canal
  • This condition is life-threatening as the tumor can spread to the brain and the nerves around the ear.

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Skin Cancer Of The Head And Neck Treatment

Many early-stage small basal cell cancers or squamous cell cancers can be removed by Mohs surgery, a technique that spares normal tissue through repeated intraoperative margin testing, removing only the cancer and leaving adjacent normal tissue. Tumors with nerve involvement, lymph node involvement or of a large size are not suitable for Mohs surgery. They require a multimodality approach to treatment, with formal surgical resection and adjuvant radiation or chemotherapy.

Melanoma is more likely to spread, and aggressive surgical resection with wide margins is required, in addition to radiation and/or chemotherapy.

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Johns Hopkins Head and Neck Cancer Surgery provides comprehensive surgical care and treatment for head and neck cancers. Our surgeons are at the leading edge of head and neck cancer treatment. You will benefit from the skilled care of head and neck surgeons, guiding clinical advancements in the field of head and neck cancer care.

More Pictures Of Basal Cell Carcinoma

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While the above pictures show you some common ways that BCC can appear on the skin, this skin cancer can show up in other ways, as the following pictures illustrate.

Scaly patch with a spot of normal-looking skin in the center

On the trunk, BCC may look like a scaly patch with a spot of normal-looking skin in the center and a slightly raised border, as shown here.

Basal cell carcinoma can be lighter in some areas and darker in others

While BCC tends to be one color, it can be lighter in some areas and darker in others, as shown here.

Basal cell carcinoma can be brown in color

Most BCCs are red or pink however, this skin cancer can be brown, as shown here.

Basal cell carcinoma can look like a group of shiny bumps

BCC can look like a group of small, shiny bumps that feel smooth to the touch.

Basal cell carcinoma can look like a wart or a sore

The BCC on this patients lower eyelid looks like a wart* in one area and a sore** in another area.

If you see a spot or growth on your skin that looks like any of the above or one that is growing or changing in any way, see a board-certified dermatologist.

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What Are The Different Types Of Skin Cancer

There are several types of cancer that originate in the skin. The most common types are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. These types are classified as non-melanoma skin cancer. Melanoma is the third type of skin cancer. It is less common than basal cell or squamous cell cancers, but potentially much more serious. Other types of skin cancer are rare.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer . It typically appears as a small raised bump that has a pearly appearance. It is most commonly seen on areas of the skin that have received excessive sun exposure. These cancers may spread to the skin surrounding them, but rarely spread to other parts of the body.

Squamous cell carcinoma is also seen on the areas of the body that have been exposed to excessive sun . Often this cancer appears as a firm red bump or ulceration of the skin that does not heal. Squamous cell carcinomas can spread to lymph nodes in the area.

Melanoma is a skin cancer that arises from the melanocytes in the skin. This makes up five percent of skin cancers. Melanocytes are the cells that give color to our skin. These cancers typically arise as pigmented lesions in the skin with an irregular shape, irregular border, and multiple colors. It is the most harmful of all the skin cancers, because it can spread to lymph nodes or other sites in the body. Fortunately, most melanomas have a very high cure rate when identified and treated early.

Diagnosis Of Ear Cancer

If you have any suspicious growths on the outside of your ear or in your middle ear, your doctor can remove some of the tissue and send it to a lab to check for cancer cells.

This procedure is called a biopsy. A biopsy may be done under local or general anesthesia , depending on the location of the affected area.

Cancerous growths on the inner ear can be more difficult to reach. This makes it harder for your doctor to biopsy without damaging surrounding tissue. Your doctor may have to rely on imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan to get an idea if cancer is present.

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Prevention: Know Your Risk

Talk to your doctor about any family history of skin cancer. Other things that raise your risk for sun damage and cancer include:

  • Light skin, hair, or eyes
  • Freckles or moles that are large, numerous, or oddly shaped
  • Lots of time outside, especially at higher altitude or where itâs very hot
  • Illness or medication that weakens your immune system
  • Drugs that make your skin more sensitive to light

Middle And Inner Ear Cancer

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Cancer inside the ear is extremely rare. The structures of the inner ear are responsible for balance and house the nerves that control movements of your face and tongue. An inner ear tumor can cause clear or bloody discharge from your ear. You may also have hearing loss, ringing in the ears, difficulty moving your face on the affected side, pain and dizziness.

Squamous cell cancer is also the most common type of inner ear cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.

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Places You Can Get Skin Cancer

We are commonly told to monitor our bodies for any changes in the size, shape and colour of our moles. But did you know that not all skin cancers develop on your skin? Some can form in surprising places and often lack the symptoms you might usually look out for. Skin cancer is highly treatable if caught early, so make sure you check these surprising places for symptoms.

1. In your eyesDid you know you can get freckles in your eyes? Any part of your body thats exposed to the sun is vulnerable to skin cancer and your eyes are one of the most exposed parts of your body, leaving them susceptible to significant sun damage, including melanoma. You cant put sunscreen on your eyes, so make sure you wear a good pair of UV-blocking sunglasses.

2. Under your fingernailsSkin cancer can develop under your fingernails and toenails. When you visit a manicurist, the little UV lights that are used to seal the gel coat on your fingers are like miniature tanning beds. The UV radiation is very damaging to your skin, especially in concentrated doses. You cant get skin cancer on your nails, but the damage penetrates through the nail to the skin underneath. So, its important to wear sunscreen on the tips of your fingers and toes, and examine your nail beds without polish on a regular basis.

What You Can Do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
  • Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you’re taking.
  • Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For skin cancer, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

In addition to the questions that you’ve prepared to ask your doctor, don’t hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Cancer

Most skin cancers can be cured if diagnosed and treated early. Aside from protecting your skin from sun damage, it is important to recognize the early signs of skin cancer.

The ABCDEs of melanoma are a helpful guide: Asymmetry Borders Color Diameter Evolution. The symptoms of melanoma skin cancer include:

  • Moles that are different on one side
  • Irregular borders of a mole
  • Color variation including shades of brown and black, which could be concerning
  • Diameter or the sizeif the mole is larger than 6 mm, a doctor should evaluate it
  • Moles or lesions that are different than the rest, or change in size, shape, or color over time are concerning
  • Symptoms of non-melanoma skin cancer include:

    • Itchy patches of skin that may crust over or are very painful
    • Bumps or skin spots that bleed easily or crust over frequently
    • Nodules that do not go away. These may be clear, a pearl-like color, or even red, pink, or white.
    • Skin sores that do not heal
    • A scar-like bump that was not caused by injury or trauma

    What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

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  • What are my risk factors for developing skin cancer and what can I do to minimize this risk?
  • What symptoms should I be looking for to see if I have skin cancer?
  • What type of skin cancer do I have?
  • What are the treatment options for my skin cancer?
  • What stage is my skin cancer?
  • Are there any topical medications that can be used to treat the skin cancer?
  • If surgery is indicated, what kind of surgery will I need? Can it be done in the office or will it require general anesthesia?
  • What kind of reconstruction will I need if I have surgery?
  • What will the scar look like?
  • Is there a chance for the cancer to have spread to another part of my body and do I need any imaging to evaluate?
  • What is my risk of having other skin cancers?
  • What kind of follow up do I need after treatment of my skin cancer?
  • Are there any side effects of the treatment?
  • What happens if the cancer comes back or spreads?
  • What should I be looking out for to see if the cancer may be coming back?
  • Are there any clinical trials that may apply to me?
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    Stages Of Cancer Of The Outer Ear

    The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and how far its spread. It helps your doctor decide which treatment you need.

    The tests and scans you have to diagnose your cancer give some information about the stage.

    Doctors use different staging systems, depending on the type of cancer.

    The staging system for cancers of the outer ear is the same as for skin cancer. There are 2 main types of skin cancer. These are melanoma and non melanoma skin cancer.

    Go to staging for non melanoma skin cancer if you have squamous cell or basal cell cancer of the ear.

    • Cancer of the external auditory canal and middle ear in Denmark from 1992 to 2001AR. Madsen AR Head & Neck. 2008 Oct 30:1332-8

    • Cancer Principles and practice of oncology VT. De Vita, TS. Lawrence, and SA. RosenbergLippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2008

    • Cutaneous lesions of the external earM. Sand Head Face Med. 2008, Feb 8 4:2

    • Malignant tumors of the ear and temporal bone: a study of 27 patients and review of their managementP. Martinez-Devesa P1, ML.Barnes M and CA. MilfordSkull Base. 2008 Jan 18 :1-8

    • Treatment of Cancer. Sixth EditionP. Price and K. SikoraCRC Press, 2015

    Treatment For Cancer Of The Middle Ear Inner Ear And Ear Canal

    The primary treatments for cancer starting in the inner and middle ear and the ear canal are radiation therapy and surgery. You may also receive chemotherapy depending upon your cancer stage.

    The amount and type of surgery that you will receive depends on the location of the cancer and whether it has spread into nearby tissues. The surgeon may remove the following structures as well:

    • The ear canal
    • The temporal bone
    • The inner ear

    In rare cases, the surgeon may remove your facial nerve. They may also remove the salivary glands and/or neck lymph nodes on the affected side.

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    Preparing For An Appointment

    Make an appointment with your family doctor if you notice any unusual skin changes that worry you. In some cases, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin diseases and conditions .

    Because appointments can be brief, and because there’s often a lot of ground to cover, it’s a good idea to be well-prepared. Here’s some information to help you get ready, and know what to expect from your doctor.


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