Skull Base Skin Cancers

Skin cancers involving the skull base are rare and generally occur in patients with a previous history of skin cancer in the head and neck region.

With skin malignancies involving the skull base, you generally will have a visible or palpable growth on the face. Other possible symptoms could be a lump next to the ear, difficulty opening the mouth, facial paralysis, hearing loss, ringing in the ear, or dizziness.

The diagnostic evaluation includes a CT scan, MRI, PET scan, and an audiogram.

Treatment Options

In general, skin malignancies of the skull base are treated with surgery. Due to the complex anatomy of the skull base and the temporal bone, a combined approach is usually performed with the expertise of a head and neck surgeon, an ear surgeon, a reconstructive surgeon, or a neurosurgeon. Often the disease is advanced and postoperative radiation therapy will be required. For some lesions, radiation therapy may be the primary treatment of choice. 

You may also need rehabilitation after treatment. There are multiple options for rehabilitation for hearing loss. In addition, you may need rehabilitation for balance or speech and swallowing rehabilitation for problems with hoarseness or swallowing.

The physicians at UT Southwestern Medical Center are experts in diagnosing and treating skin cancers of the skull base while providing the most compassionate care.