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Skin Cancer on Ear? Need Help!
dabannerfam posted:
A few days ago, I was itching my right ear and touched what felt like a dried substance. So I peeled off about 6 centimeters of it off. I only realized it was my skin moments later, when that area of my ear was bright pink and painful, as the raw skin was exposed. Since then, it has scabbed and I'm noticing dark spots on the area. I've included a picture.

I have an appointment with my dermatologist next week but am actually really stressing as I wait.

Information on-line has said that the third most likely spot that skin cancer is detected is on the ear. I don't think I've ever put sunscreen on my ear and have always lived in sunny Southern CA. Needless to say, we spend the entire summer at the beach or pool.

Can anyone give me any insight?

Thank you.
JeffMedStudent responded:
Sorry to start this off with a question, but part of your description confuses me. Are you sure you meant
"so I peeled off about 6 centimeters of it off"? 6 centimeters is actually pretty long. You sure you didn't mean 6 millimeters?

#1) My guess would be that is a scab, but it's really hard to see the depth of whatever it is relative to the rest of the ear's tissue in the image.

#2) Start wearing sunscreen!!!!!!!!! Come on!
dabannerfam replied to JeffMedStudent's response:
Hi there. It really was a long piece of skin- longer than the size of the actual scab. Who knows the actual measurements...? I don't. But I do know that I didn't do anything to warrant an open wound/scab on my ear. Also, it dries quickly and starts peeling again, unlike a normal scab that takes a week or so to peel.

P.S. I DO wear sunscreen, just never slathered it on my ear. My husband says that men routinely apply it to their ears because they are always exposed. I'm not sure women do as routinely as our hair is usually covering them so we don't think of them as often...
Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff replied to dabannerfam's response:
Hi dabannerfam -

Good to hear you are able to get into the dermatologist next week to have this evaluated.

I recently had an area biopsied and then removed from the top of my ear. The diagnosis was solar/actinic keratosis. I also have been diligent with sunscreen, but like you not paying too much attention to my ears. Now I apply daily and make sure I get my ears.

See this slideshow for more information -
Precancerous Lesions and Skin Cancer

Please keep us posted with what you find out,
dabannerfam replied to Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff's response:
Just wanted to update y'all- I went to the Derm who reported that it was in fact actinic keratosis. She flash-froze it to allow the skin in that area to peel and regenerate new skin. She instructed me to let her know if it didn't regenerate normally. Happy to report that it did grow back nicely and evenly and I haven't had any re growth of the keratosis. But now I always put sunscreen on my ears.
longduckdong46 replied to dabannerfam's response:
I know well about actinic keratosis. In fact last week I had about 5 or 6 treated with the liquid nitrogen. No skin cancer and follow up appointment in a year for I'm sure the next round.
My dermatoligist prescibes me Solarayze gel which I apply twice a day for three months and it really helps, but some still sneak through.
Good luck and stay vigilant.

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