Ear cancer affects the inner and outer parts of the ear, including:

  • Ear bone, or temporal bone
  • Ear canal
  • Eardrum
  • The skin on the part of the ear that we can see (called the pinna)

Ear cancers are often misdiagnosed as ear infections. Any unusual symptoms or ear infections that won’t go away need to be examined by an ear, nose and throat specialist, also called an otolaryngologist or ENT.

Ear Nose Throat specialty national ranking badgeEar Cancer at UK Markey Cancer Center

Ear cancer is very rare, but our surgeons have the experience that’s necessary for treating it. 

Using state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions, Markey’s ear cancer team provides advanced and timely diagnosis and individualized, ongoing care for patients. Each patient is cared for by a team of specialists who meet regularly to discuss individual patient cases and treatment plans. This multidisciplinary team will work with you and your doctor to coordinate a care plan designed to offer the best outcomes.

Markey has provided state-of-the-art cancer care for more than 30 years, and we are proud to be the only cancer center in Kentucky designated by the National Cancer Institute. Since 2017, Markey Cancer Center has been nationally recognized as a top 50 cancer center by U.S. News & World Report.

Symptoms of ear cancer may include:

  • Discharge from the ear
  • Ear pain
  • Facial weakness
  • Headache
  • Hearing loss
  • Lump in or near the opening of the ear canal

You can lower your risk of cancer by taking steps to build a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways you can lower your risk for this disease, as well as improve your overall basic health:

  • Avoid using tobacco products. Tobacco has been tied to multiple cancers, and it is responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths.
  • Stay physically active. Your physical activity is related to risk for colon and breast cancer. Excess weight gained from inactivity increases the risk of multiple cancers.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. It is important to be mindful of how much alcohol you drink. Alcohol intake, even in moderate amounts, can increase the risk for colon, breast, esophageal and oropharyngeal cancer.
  • Learn about screenings. Your primary care doctor can recommend appropriate cancer screenings based on your age, personal risk and family history.

Because ear cancer is so rare, it’s hard to determine exactly what causes it. Possible causes include:

  • Sun exposure. Skin cancers on the outer part of the ear are often caused by sun exposure or use of tanning beds. People with light skin are especially vulnerable to skin cancers, but anyone can get them.
  • Ear infections. Repeated or chronic ear infections may contribute to some ear cancers.
  • Age. Ear cancer is more common in older people, especially those in their 70s.
  • For your first visit, you will be directed to the Head, Neck & Respiratory Clinic on the second floor of the Ben F. Roach Cancer Care Facility
  • You can register in the first-floor registration area, where a Markey team member will help guide you through your appointment.
  • Several parking options are available to patients of Markey Cancer Center.
  • Please remember to bring your patient packet with the completed forms. These items will help your doctor learn more about your case and determine the best plan for your care.
  • To meet our patient needs, UK HealthCare accepts many forms of insurance.  

Clinical trials are research studies aimed at evaluating medical, surgical or behavioral interventions to determine if a new treatment is safe and effective.

At UK Markey Cancer Center, we are advancing cancer care and research to prevent, detect and treat cancer – one patient at a time. As a patient at Markey, you have a team of people looking at your individual case, applying the most recent cancer knowledge to give you the best chance of survival.

Markey has more open clinical trials than any other cancer center in the region, giving you access to some of the most advanced options available. Learn more about ongoing clinical trials for treating ear cancer below.

NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - A Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Markey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – a distinction that recognizes our commitment to accelerating precision cancer research and care to patients. We are the first and only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center in Kentucky, and one of 57 in the nation.