Ear pain can be a sign of cancer

Associate Professor Dr. Ayşe Pelin Yiğider from Gaziosmanpaşa Hospital ENT Department, Yeni Yüzyıl University, told what should be known about ear cancer.

What is ear cancer? What is the treatment process like?

“Ear cancer is a kind of cancer originating from the ear skin, skin appendages, cartilage, muscles and bones. Cancers originating from the inner ear structures and mostly occurring as intracranial tumors are also ear cancers. With the direct spread of cancer cells of the tissues around the ear to the ear and related tissues, we may encounter cancer in the ear region.”

What are the causes of ear cancer?

“The presence of genetic disorders that predispose to the development of cancer in general is a cause in itself. Also, cancers of the skin and appendages of the ear area are generally caused by sunlight exposure.”


What complaints can be symptoms of ear cancer?

“Patients may apply with visible wounds or permanent stains, as well as with pain radiating to the ear and jaw area. Apart from this, conditions such as hearing loss, loss of balance, facial paralysis, headache, a different swelling or pain in and around the ear are important findings.”

How is ear cancer diagnosed?

“First of all, we should not ignore the complaints we have experienced and should be examined by a physician immediately. Afterwards, ear cancer can be diagnosed with various tests, tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, biopsy, etc., at the request of the physician.”

How can ear cancer be treated?

“The primary treatment for ear cancer is surgery. After providing a complete cleaning with surgery, additional chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be required depending on the pathological characteristics of the tissue. One of the most important steps of surgical applications is to compensate for the tissue loss that occurs while the tumor is being cleaned, both aesthetically and functionally, and in order to protect vital structures such as the brain and neck vessels. At this point, the wound opening is closed with tissues brought from other parts of the body with local or distant flaps.”


How can we protect ourselves from ear cancer?

“One of the most important causes of ear cancer is exposure to the sun. For this reason, in order to prevent ear cancer, it is necessary to avoid sunlight if possible, to spend time in the shade, not to be under the sun at noon when the sun comes at the strongest angles, to cover our ears to protect them from the sun if we are in a situation where we will be exposed to the sun, and to avoid artificial tanning rays such as solariums.

In another way, if there is an individual with a history of this type of cancer in our family, we should undergo a doctor’s examination without delay when we have any problems in or around our ear area. In cases such as pain, swelling, spotting, hearing loss, headache, facial paralysis, loss of balance, a physician should be consulted.

It should not be forgotten that, as in every disease, early diagnosis is very important in ear cancer, and if we do not want permanent damage, we need to understand the symptoms of the situation we live in and consult a doctor.”


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