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Baltimore doctors grow ear on a woman's arm
10.01.2012A woman who lost the majority of her original left ear and a chunk of her skull to a form of skin cancer now has a new ear. For this, she can thank a new procedure that used cartilage from other parts of her body to grow new tissue on the skin of her arm.
Diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma two years ago, Sherrie Walter told ABC news that she was adversed to the idea of using a prosthetic ear, out of fear her children would steal such a device and use it as a plaything.
However, she does not downplay the strangeness of the 20 months she spent with an organic ear growing on her arm.
"We started making jokes just to try to get used to it. I was like, 'Can you hear me? Can you hear me?'" Walters told CBS, while waving her arm at the camera. Through a hearing aid, she is able to hear through her experimental convexity.
Patrick Byrne, her reconstructive surgeon, told the news source that he conceived of this treatment years ago, and had been waiting for a patient who would be able to benefit from it. He suspects her new ear will start to look normal as swelling goes down.
According to MSN, the ear was completed last week with the attachment of a lobe that makes it appear more authentic.
Health organizations say skin cancer is most common and curable cancer
Walters advises anyone with reason to suspect they may have skin cancer - which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states is the most common and curable form of cancer - to see a physician as soon as possible in order to avoid ever requiring urgent medical care for later-stage cancer.
The Mayo Clinic states that the type of skin cancer Walters had, basal cell carcinoma, could look like a waxy bump or a brown mark that resembles a scar. A red knot, or a flat, crusted lesion could be a sign of squamous cell carcinoma. Survival rates for these two cancers are notably high, however another form of skin cancer called melanoma is more serious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of skin cancer can be reduced by taking protective measures against harsh sunlight, such as seeking out shade, and wearing sunblock and sunglasses that block UV rays. The agency also advises against indoor tanning.
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