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Dermatology Online Journal

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Basal cell carcinoma invasion of an ear piercing


Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) development in the context of a piercing is a rare phenomenon, reported in the literature in only six instances. We present a 55-year-old woman with nodular BCC involving her auricular piercing and extending clinically onto the posteroinferior right ear lobule and right post-auricular crease. Histological analysis revealed spread of the BCC through the piercing onto the anterior lobule, with evidence that the cancer utilized the piercing as a low resistance pathway for this microscopic invasion. This case is, to our knowledge, the first report of microscopic BCC present within an auricular piercing itself. Chronic inflammation related to repeated trauma from the embedded jewelry may have played a role in its formation. A piercing may provide a path of least resistance for BCC tumor cells to invade, providing a nidus for recurrence. Careful histological examination with possible complete excision of the piercing is prudent to prevent cancer return.

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