caret icon Back to all discussions


After having a lesion removed from the outside of his ear last week, my husband's dermatology report came back today. He has squamous cell skin cancer and will need to have the Mohs procedure done. He had this spot on his ear since last year, so I'm terrified that we may not have caught it in time. I understand that this type of skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body. I'm open to any advice that you have. Thanks!

  1. ...I am so sorry you are both dealing with this diagnosis. I know how stressful it can be to find out you have squamous cell carcinoma. I had an excision for squamous cell on my collarbone last February and have had Mohs several times for basal cell. I honestly have no idea how long the spot had been on my collarbone. I would guess it was at least six months as that is the length of time between my regular exams with my dermatologist.

    You are correct--squamous cell can spread to other parts of the body, and I know exactly how difficult it is to keep from worrying as you wait. In my experience, my doctor sent a sample to be biopsied following my excision. Within a week, they had the results and let me know. I am not sure how familiar you are with Mohs, but your husband will find out the day of the procedure if it is necessary to take a bigger area. If that is necesssary, his doctor will continue to take more samples around the spot until margins are clear. Mohs is very different from typical excisions, but I prefer to have it when possible because results are same-day.

    I encourage you both to try not to worry and keep open lines of communication with your doctor. Squamous cell that has spread can, indeed, be treated. I am including an article from one of our advocates and fellow skin cancer patients. She shares some very useful information on squamous cell.

    I am also sharing an article about Mohs and what to expect in case you are first-timers with this procedure.

    Please keep us updated on your husband's progress. This community is here for you any time!

    April,, Moderator

    1. I am sorry to read about your husband's diagnosis. I think that April's post below is helpful. Please keep us updated. Scott team member

      1. My husband had his MOHS surgery this am. The doc did two excisions to get to clear margins. The second one exposed some cartilage. Since they could not suture it, his two options were a skin graft or leaving it to heal on its own. He opted for the latter. My only worry now is infection. They prescribed an antibiotic ointment for him to use once a day when he starts changing the dressing. I seem to remember someone on one of the forums mentioning that the cartilage in their ear became infected after this procedure, and a number of folks I know who have had this surgery mentioned having infections. Is infection that common? Thanks!

        Linda Goodwin

        1. ...From my experience with excisions, doctors are always proactive when it comes to infections. My guess is that there is always a chance an infection can develop following this type of procedure. I have been given both topical antibiotic ointments and oral meds in the past following excisions just as precautions. I would suggest he keep an eye on the excision site and if it begins to look red or becomes irritated, contact your doctor. They will be able to determine if he needs something stronger than the ointment if needed.

          I have never had surgery on my ear, but I have had an infection develop in the past following an excision on my neck. It was quickly and easily addressed when I contacted my doctor and stopped in for her to take a look. Oral medication took care of it in no time.

          Stay diligent with the anitbiotic ointment---we are keeping you both in our thoughts. Please keep us posted on his progress and healing! We are here to support you both!
          April,, Moderator

      2. Thanks! One week out from surgery, and my husband decided to do the daily clean himself yesterday. He removed what I believe was the start of a scab, so he may have set himself back a week since we're back to being able to see the cartilage. He's not in pain, but I can't see how cleaning, applying ointment and re-bandaging his ear every day will ever allow it to heal. Follow up with doc is March 3.Post-clean 2-18-22

        1. I can definitely understand your concern. The ear is a very tricky area to care for, and keep bandaged. This article, while not specifically about surgical sites on the ear, discusses some helpful Mohs aftercare tips I think the big take away is being gentle and keeping the area clean. Since your husband's follow up is still days away, I would encourage you to reach out to the doctor's office to see if they can offer any further guidance. I hope his healing goes well! Please let us know how he's doing. All my best, Julie (team member)

        2. I am so sorry he's dealing with this. I agreew ith Julie's advice. I think I would definitely follow up with the doctor and see if an antibiotic (oral or topical) would be recommended. We are here for you both! Hang in there! April,, Moderator

      Please read our rules before posting.