Cancer of the ear is rare. Even rarer is the one that develops inside the ear. Ear cancer is a type of head and neck cancer which develops from the skin that overlays the ear, and occurs within the epithelial lining of the ear canal. As cancer grows inside the ear, excessive pain occurs, and the patient may have to get many treatments in order to fight it. This malignancy of the ear disrupts the organ responsible for causing hearing, and may lead to total hearing loss. Even though cancer of the ear is seen in people who are over 60 years of age, it can occur to anyone, regardless of age. Cancer of the ear is of two types - cholesteatoma and squamous cell carcinoma. From what medical professionals have stated, both of these cancers grow gradually inside the ear, with the latter being more common as it grows deeper into the body, and hence, has a greater probability of spreading. Ear cancer can be treated either by surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, depending upon the criticality of the patient's cancer of the ear. In the following section, ear cancer symptoms are explained in detail.
Symptoms of Ear Cancer
Even though the exact cause of ear cancer is not yet known, many doctors believe that excessive exposure to dust and industrial chemicals causes it to settle down inside, and lead to serious ear problems. There are only a few signs of cancer of the ear, and as soon as they're located, immediate action must be taken. Take a look at the following symptoms and signs:
Fluid Leaking Out of the Ear
Many a time, a person experiences ear bleeding or earwax leaking out of their ear which may either be caused by a minor irritation in the ear or infection. Note that, this is something you don't experience every now and then, and hence, it should be taken seriously.
Ruptured Eardrum
In case of a white or yellow discharge from the ear, cancer can be diagnosed, since it signals a rupture in the eardrum. It can be caused by loud noise, foreign objects inside the ear, ear trauma, or difference in the pressure between the inside and outside of the eardrum. Such an opening in the tympanic membrane is a sure sign of ear cancer.
Growth of a Sore in the Ear
One of the key symptoms of cancer of the ear is the occurrence of a sore in or around the ear that takes more than a month to heal. It could be a pink lump, and might bleed easily. If a person notices a mole or a spot on their ear, they should immediately report the same to the doctor to prevent further itching and bleeding.
Complete Hearing Loss
If, by any chance, a person is no more able to hear sounds, or experiences excessive twitching inside the ear, it can be cancer of the ear as total hearing loss is a definitive sign. In such a case, a person often experiences headaches, dizziness, etc. In many cases, such hearing loss transfers from one ear to another, making the person completely devoid of hearing.
Other symptoms may include blood discharge, skin crust developing into ulcers, ringing sensations, and occasional hearing problems.
As soon as the symptoms of ear cancer are noticed, the patient should be taken to a doctor who will carry out tests such as biopsy, MRI Scans, and CT Scans to figure out the real cause of ear problem. If cancer is diagnosed, doctors recommend chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Surgery is the most common treatment for cancer of the ear which, at the same time, depends upon the stage or severity of cancer in the patient.
Ear cancer, even though a rare occurrence, can happen to anyone. Doctors advice people to keep their ears clean so as to minimize the risks involved with diseases of the ear.