Noncancerous ear tumors
Noncancerous tumors may develop in the ear canal, blocking it and causing hearing loss and a buildup of earwax. Such tumors include
Epidermal inclusion cysts Cutaneous Cysts Cutaneous cysts are common, slow-growing lumps. Epidermal inclusion cysts are the most common cutaneous cysts. (See also Overview of Skin Growths.) Epidermal inclusion cysts (epidermoid cysts)... read more (sometimes referred to as sebaceous cysts): Small sacs filled with skin secretions
Keloids Keloids Keloids are smooth, shiny growths of scar tissue that usually form over areas of injury or surgical wounds. (See also Overview of Skin Growths.) These keloids are dome-shaped. This photo shows... read more : Growths of excess scar tissue after an injury or ear piercing
Exostoses occur in people who swim in cold water, such as scuba divers and surfers. Surfer's ear is a common term for bony exostosis in the ear canal.
The most effective treatment for these noncancerous bony tumors is surgical removal. After treatment, hearing usually returns to normal. Small, non-obstructing osteomas or exostoses require no intervention.
Keloids can be repeatedly injected with a corticosteroid, such as triamcinolone, or surgically removed. People may be given additional corticosteroid injections or even radiation after surgical removal.
Cancerous ear tumors
Basal cell carcinoma Basal Cell Carcinoma Basal cell carcinoma, the most common skin cancer, originates in certain cells of the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). Usually, a small, shiny bump appears on the skin and enlarges slowly... read more and squamous cell carcinoma Squamous Cell Carcinoma Squamous cell carcinoma is cancer that begins in the squamous cells of the skin. Thick, scaly growths appear on the skin and do not heal. To diagnose the cancer, doctors do a biopsy. Treatment... read more are common skin cancers that can develop on the external ear after repeated and prolonged exposure to the sun. People who have chronic ear infections may have an increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma. When these cancers first appear, they can be successfully treated by removing them surgically or by applying radiation therapy. More advanced cancers may require surgical removal of a larger area of the external ear. Melanoma Melanoma Melanoma is a skin cancer that begins in the pigment-producing cells of the skin (melanocytes). Melanomas can begin on normal skin or in existing moles. They may be irregular, flat or raised... read more is another, more rapidly spreading form of skin cancer that can also develop in the skin of the outer ear canal and must be removed surgically.
Ceruminoma (cancer of the cells that produce earwax) develops in the outer third of the ear canal. These tumors do not spread (metastasize) to other areas but they are destructive to the ear canal. Ceruminomas have nothing to do with earwax buildup. Treatment consists of removing the tumor and surrounding tissue surgically.