The mastoid is the small bone directly behind the ear. Burkitt’s lymphoma of the mastoid, like all tumours of temporal bone--bone at the side of the skull--is extremely rare. Two varieties of Burkitt’s exist: African and American. The African type is linked to the Epstein-Barr virus, a virus related to herpes, but the American type is not.
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Patients may complain of ear fullness, loss of hearing, headache and stiffness in the neck. Farlex, Inc. indicates there may be a history of persistent ear infections. Facial nerve paralysis may also occur.
According to Farlex, Inc., this rare malignant tumour is caused by cells that have metastasised from other diseases such as Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the case of non-Hodgkin’s, the tumour may be the result of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Diagnosis is usually made with CAT scans, MRI and biopsy. The National Library of Medicine reports that the majority of mastoid tumours are squamous cell carcinomas, rather than the rare lymph tumours.
The National Library of Medicine notes that chemotherapy is an effective method of treatment for these tumours. Surgical removal, followed by radiation, may also be successful.
The prognosis is good for patients following intensive chemotherapy, according to the National Library of Medicine. It is noted that more than half may be cured, provided that the cancer does not spread to the patient’s spinal fluid or bone marrow.
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