Attorney Kenneth R. Fiedler
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Can you miss skin cancer signs on the ear?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Ear cancer is a rare disease and often starts out as skin cancer that develops in the outer portion of the ear canal, outer ear or skin around the ear. If the cancer is left untreated, the cancer can spread to the inner ear and the facial nerves or temporal bone. It’s important to receive treatment as soon as possible, especially if you notice abnormal growth outside the ear. If you’re an Illinois or Colorado resident, here are some important things to know about medical malpractice when it comes to diagnosing ear cancer.

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common skin cancers on the ear. It is also possible to get melanoma on the ear, but this is rare.

Basal cell carcinoma consists of cancerous growths that often develop very slowly and don’t usually spread past their original site. However, if the tumors are left untreated, they can spread to the inner ear and temporal bone. In most cases, doctors can catch the growth early and remove it completely. In medical malpractice cases, however, doctors may not see the tumor early enough or may misdiagnose it.

Squamous cell cancer and melanoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of cancer that can occur in or around the ear. However, this type of ear cancer is still rare since it only affects the face and neck 0.2% of the time, which is why it can be missed and lead to a medical malpractice case.

This form of cancer develops when squamous cells near the ear are damaged and start growing rapidly. Squamous cell cancer is more serious than basal cell carcinoma because of how quickly and intensely it spreads to other parts of the body.

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor should be able to diagnose a cancerous growth but doesn’t do so. Proving such a case will require examining the expected standard of care and how the doctor failed to meet it.