Clinical Case Database / Category: Case Based Discussion

Otological malignancy

Publication details

R Rajak, N Doddi
Foundation Years Journal, volume 7, issue 4, p.30 (123Doc Education, London, April 2013)


Malignancies of the ear and temporal bone are exceedingly rare and usually present with symptoms like chronic otorrhoea and otalgia that are common to benign conditions like otitis externa. There is a wide range of histologically distinct tumours with specific patterns of spread, of which Squamous cell carcinoma (SCCs) and Basal cell carcinoma (BCCs) are the most common. The gold standard of treatment is surgery, with adjuvant radiotherapy for high stage disease. 5-year survival rates are between 80-100% for early disease and 35-50% for late disease. Prognosis is influenced by tumour site, facial nerve involvement, lymph node metastases and positive resection margins. The key role of the foundation doctor is to be alert to the recognition of persistent ‘benignlooking’ symptoms unresponsive to conservative treatment, which may be the presenting feature of an underlying malignancy.

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R Rajak


N Doddi



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About the Clinical Cases Database

T​he Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database is​ a selection of 600 peer-reviewed clinical cases in the field of patient safety and clinical practice, specifically focused on the clinical information needs of junior doctors, based around the Foundation Year Curriculum programme (MMC). The cases have been chosen to align with the Foundation Year Curriculum.

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