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Get Treatment For Ear and Temporal Bone Cancer

Great Surgical Care at Marina del Rey Hospital



Why Choose Cedars Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Ear and Temporal Bone Cancer Treatment?

Our team of medical professionals includes renowned oncologists and surgeons, whose vast knowledge and extensive skills will guarantee a positive outcome for the procedure you need to undergo if you struggle with ear and temporal bone cancer. By virtue of the state-of-the-art technology, our hospital has the privilege of having, you can now undergo surgery for ear and temporal bone cancer with minimal risks of postoperative complications. Following the surgical procedure, your vital signs will be permanently monitored by our medical team to ensure speedy recovery in a warm and compassionate environment.

The temporal bone is the area of the skull above the ear and, in addition to the ear itself, it can also be affected by cancer. Every year, there are between 200 and 300 cases of ear and temporal bone cancer in the United States, which makes this disease quite rare. This malignant disease is usually challenging to diagnose, as well as difficult to treat. Cancer that develops on the ear and the temporal bone initially occurs on the outer ear, the ear canal, or the skin around the outer ear. The most common types of ear and temporal bone cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. If the disease is not timely diagnosed, it may spread to the following adjacent areas:

  • ear canal
  • middle ear
  • mastoid or deep into the temporal bone
  • facial nerve
  • organs for hearing and balance

Unfortunately, squamous cell carcinoma, which is the most difficult to treat, is the most common cancer of the ear and temporal bone. It is a very aggressive disease and tends to spread very quickly to nearby areas of the body. On the other hand, the rarest type of ear and temporal bone cancer is adenoid cystic carcinoma, which stems from the glands that produce earwax. It is worthy of note that malignant tumors that grow in the parotid gland or in the largest salivary gland can also spread to the ear and temporal bone. Another important finding concerning ear and temporal bone cancer is that the disease occurs more often in men than in women. While this malignant disease is rare, our medical specialists are thoroughly prepared to provide you with the treatment you need if you struggle with ear and temporal bone cancer.

The primary treatment for ear and temporal bone cancer is surgery, which is followed by six weeks of radiotherapy. During surgery, the malignant tumors are removed from the area, as it is performed with the purpose of completely resecting the cancerous growths. The procedure may involve the removal of the following structures, depending on the extent to which cancer has spread:

  • the ear canal, the eardrum, two of the three small bones in the middle ear
  • parotid gland and lymph nodes in the neck
  • some or all of the outer ear

Early diagnosis is the key when it comes to ear and temporal bone cancer, as the disease spreads very fast to nearby areas, which can lead to serious health complications. By virtue of the innovative technology our hospital is equipped with, you can receive a timely diagnosis if you experience symptoms that may indicate the presence of ear and temporal bone cancer. Surgery of the ear canal and temporal bone is of 3 types:

  • sleeve resection
  • lateral temporal bone resection
  • radical temporal bone resection

During sleeve resection, the ear canal, skin, bone, and eardrum are removed and the hearing of the patient is preserved. Lateral temporal bone resection entails the removal of the sleeve area of the outer ear and the middle ear and this procedure affects the hearing of the patient. Nevertheless, some patients are able to still hear with the help of a hearing aid following lateral temporal bone resection. The last type of surgery for ear and temporal bone cancer, radical temporal bone resection, implies the removal of the entire temporal bone and the reconstruction of it. If cancer spreads to the brain, a team of neurosurgeons will also be involved in the procedure.

There are 3 types of ear and temporal bone cancer, the first being the most common and the last being the rarest:

  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • basal cell carcinoma
  • adenoid cystic carcinoma

The effectiveness of treatment will highly depend on what type of ear and temporal bone cancer you have. While squamous cell carcinoma usually spreads very fast, they are easier to treat, as they are more common and thereby there are more documented cases in the medical literature. However, if you struggle with adenoid cystic carcinoma, your cancer may not respond well to treatment, since this type of ear and temporal bone cancer is the rarest and not a lot is known about it.

Symptoms of Ear and Temporal Bone Cancer

There are 3 main symptoms of ear and temporal bone cancer:

  • hearing loss
  • ear pain
  • bleeding or drainage from the ear

However, when their cancer is in the early stage, people may notice scaly patches or small white bumps on the outer ear or in the skin around the ear. In severe cases, ear and temporal bone cancer may cause facial weakness or paralysis. Another sign of this disease is chronic ear infections that do not respond to treatment with antibiotics.

Diagnosis of Ear and Temporal Bone Cancer

The first step of diagnosing ear and temporal bone cancer is conducting a physical exam. Consequently, the doctor will examine the skin of your ear for abnormalities and monitor the growth of a potential bump that is present on the skin. They may also order a biopsy to confirm or deny the existence of malignant cells in the bump on the skin of your outer ear. It is worthy of note that, because this cancer is so rare, it is often misdiagnosed as outer ear infections. Imaging tests such as CT scans and MRI scans are also useful in diagnosing ear and temporal bone cancer, as they can precisely show the extent to which the disease has spread.

Because this disease is rare, the factors that contribute to the development of the ear and temporal bone cancer are not entirely known. Although smoking and family history have not been found to increase the risk of ear and temporal bone cancer, exposure to the sun without protection may play a crucial role in the occurrence of the disease. Similarly, recurrent ear infections may represent a risk factor for ear and temporal bone cancer. It is important to note that people with fair skin are more susceptible to developing this disease. Lastly, in certain cases, ear and temporal bone cancer occurs because a malignant disease somewhere else in the body has spread to the head area.

Because excessive sun exposure is associated with skin cancer, which can also affect the skin of the ear, avoiding it is essential in the prevention of this disease. Wearing sunscreen with a high SPF on the skin of your ears is highly recommended, even in the winter, as exposure to the sun still occurs during this season.

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