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Metastasis of colonic adenocarcinoma to the external ear canal: An unusual case with a complex pattern of disease progression

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January 1, 2005
by Henry J. Carson, MD; Jeffrey S. Krivit, MD; Stanley G. Eilers, MD
We report on a patient who developed far-ranging metas-tases of adenocarcinoma of the colon that followed a gradual cephalad progression, including the right external ear canal, and led to hearing loss. The patient was a 63-year-old white male with stage III adenocarcinoma of the colon. After 2 years with metastases elsewhere, he developed hearing loss on the right side. Physical examination of the head and neck showed a mass in the external ear canal, and biopsy confirmed adenocarcinoma. After removal, the patient's hearing improved. This case is interesting not only because of the unusual metastasis to the external ear canal, but also because of the patient's previous history of metastasis over the course of more than 2 years. The significance of such wide-ranging metastases is that metastasis of adenocarcinoma to the ear did not signal imminent death, and relief of the hearing loss it caused was possible.

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