Only around 300 Americans are diagnosed with this condition each year. Compared to breast cancer, which sees some 250,000 new cases every year, it is exceedingly rare, and this is what leads to it being frequently misdiagnosed. If a person has been the victim of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, they may have the ability to file a malpractice claim.
Doctors have not been able to pinpoint the cause of ear cancer, but they have linked it to skin cancer. Those who are light-skinned or who spend much time in the sun without sunscreen are, by extension, more liable to develop ear cancer. Frequent ear infections raise the risk, too, by inviting cellular changes that could lead to cancer.
The symptoms depend on where the cancer is. A cancerous outer ear can create skin ulcers that bleed or a white bump underneath the skin. Cancerous middle ears are detected by their bloody discharges and by numbness on the affected side of the head. When cancer affects the inner ear, patients may experience dizziness, headaches, pain and even hearing loss.
A doctor may perform a biopsy to determine if a tumorous growth is cancerous, but this will be more difficult to do when the cancer is further inside the ear. In those cases, MRIs and CT scans could identify it.
As for removing the cancer, doctors can do this surgically if it’s on the outside of the ear although patients may need reconstructive surgery afterward. In serious cases, patients may have their ear canal and ear drum and removed.
If a person successfully files a claim under medical malpractice law, they might be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other applicable losses. However, the hospital or medical center will likely fight the claim, so the patient may want a lawyer on their side.