Cancers of Ear Canal
Cancers of the external auditory canal are extremely rare. The most common types of these cancers are squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma. They require aggressive treatment such as surgery and sometimes radiation therapy. Unlike the skin cancers that grow on the ear lobule or other parts of the skin, the cancers of ear canal are usually quite aggressive and can use small natural opening of the external auditory canal to grow into the temporomandibular joint or the muscles of mastication deep in the face. Radiation therapy of these cancers without surgery is usually not a good option since the external auditory canal is very sensitive to radiation and would cause pain, bone death, and years of drainage in response to radiation. For this reason, most of these tumors are primarily treated with surgery with the addition of radiation and chemotherapy as needed.
Middle Ear Tumors
Middle ear tumors are exceedingly rare. The most common types are glomus tympanicum, adenomas and hemangiomas. Sometimes facial nerve schwannomas present as a middle ear mass and cause conductive hearing loss.
Images used with permission from Robert K Jackler