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Ear Surgery Information Center, supported by Saratoga Ear & Sinus Surgery, P.C. and Mark Levenson, MD, F.A.C.S.

Learn > Ear Tumors > Tumors of the External Ear > Basal Cell Cancers

Basal Cell Cancers are the most common ear tumors of the external ear. Usually, years of sun exposure causes basal cell tumors (cancers), particularly of the upper portion of the exposed ear. They are the most common cancers of any part of the face including the external ear.

They begin as circular raised areas of skin with central crater-like ulcerations. They enlarge locally and may become ulcerated in the center. Basal cell cancers are more common in the elderly. Also, the fairer the skin, the greater the chance of developing a basal cancer during one's life. Basal cell cancers grow very slowly. Because of this, they are easily cured if treated early. If ignored, however, a basal cell cancer will require very extensive surgery to remove it.

These cancers generally do not metastasize, that is they do not spread to other organs. In most cases they do not break off, enter the bloodstream or travel to other areas of the body. They spread by increasing in size only. Basal cell cancers in early stages can be treated with either surgical excision or local curretment (scraping away the tumor with a sharp looped instrument and peeling down to normal skin).

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