Ear cancer is exceedingly rare with some 300 people in the U.S. being diagnosed with it each year. Contrast this with the 250,000 cases of breast cancer that arise annually. Residents of Texas should still know something about ear cancer, though. First of all, it usually results from skin cancer, so those who are light-skinned and frequently exposed to the sun run a greater risk for it. Recurring ear infections could prompt ear cancer, too.
The most common type of ear cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. It starts by affecting the cells in the outermost part of the epidermis, which is, in turn, the outermost layer of the skin. Compared to basal cell carcinoma, which also affects the outer part of the epidermis, squamous cell carcinoma goes deeper and has around a 15% chance of spreading beyond the ear’s outer cartilage.
As for the most aggressive ear cancer, that would be melanoma. Though rare, it is often linked to excessive sun exposure and tends to give the skin a brown color.
Depending on the cancer’s location, patients may experience different symptoms. The outer ear may develop scaly patches, and the ear canal may grow a lump. Middle ear cancer patients may experience a bloody discharge, and those with inner ear cancer may experience dizziness and hearing loss.
Ear cancer being so rare, it’s not unusual for patients to be misdiagnosed or diagnosed only after a serious delay. If these diagnostic errors were clearly the result of negligence on the doctor’s part, victims may pursue a medical malpractice case. After all, if it were not for negligence, victims may have been treated earlier and spared some of the effects they are dealing with now. To see what their chances are like of recovering damages, victims may speak with a lawyer.