The primary treatment for most melanomas, including melanoma of the ear, is surgical excision of the malignant tissue. After initial treatment, patients may undergo adjuvant therapy to suppress recurrence of the disease. Adjuvant treatment may be in the form of immune stimulation, radiation therapy, involvement in clinical studies or observation, states the University of California San Diego's Moores Cancer Center.
In the United States, an estimated 1 percent of all documented melanoma cases in 2005 were attributed to melanoma of the ear, based on a 2006 study published in the United States National Library of Medicine. Depending on the size and stage of the malignancy, a surgeon removes the lesion along with a certain amount of surrounding normal skin or tissue.
Surgical removal of melanomas of the ear, which are detected at an early stage, cures most patients, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine. For melanomas diagnosed as stage 0, the surgeon performs a resection on the affected part of the ear and removes half a centimeter margin of normal tissue. Stage 1 melanomas measured at less than 1 mm thick or those that are no more than 2 mm thick with no visible erosion of the surrounding skin are removed along with around 1 cm border of normal skin.
For stage 2 melanomas that range from 1 to 2 mm thick and exhibit ulceration, the surgeon excises the cancerous tissue along with 2 cm of adjacent skin. Melanomas of the ear measuring 4 mm thick are taken out along with at least 2 cm of normal skin surrounding the lesion.