Radiation therapy to the head and neck for the treatment of benign diseases carries the potential for the late development of carcinoma. Low-dose radiation has been used as an adjunctive treatment for recurrent keloids, especially massive keloids, but the carcinogenic potential of ionizing radiation in this setting remains controversial. We report the case of a 37-year-old black woman with a history of severe earlobe keloids who had been first treated with resection and postoperative radiation at the age of 9 years. When she had reached the age of 36 years, she required reoperation for massive keloid scarring, after which she underwent a second course of postoperative radiation to the right side of her face and neck. Some 20 months after the second administration of radiation therapy, she developed a mucoepidermoid carcinoma in the right parotid gland. The tumor was successfully treated with surgery.
Radiation therapy was first used in 1906 as an adjunctive treatment for malignancies. Since then, epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that ionizing radiation carries a potential risk for carcinogenesis.1-3 We report the case of a woman who developed recurrent severe earlobe keloids 27 years after she had undergone surgery and radiation therapy for the same condition as a child. Following the second administration of radiation therapy, she developed a mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) of the parotid gland.
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