News 9 MD: Ear cancer survivor gets new "ear" - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

News 9 MD: Ear cancer survivor gets new "ear"

(WTVM) -

Whether he's playing hockey or flying high, Henry Fiorentini lives an active lifestyle.

But a few years ago, a very common form of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma almost took his life.

"It's like, wow, there it is on a direct path to your brain," Fiorentini says. "Goodbye life. It's kind of scary to say the least."

The cancer started on his right ear. He lost his hearing—and his ear. Despite multiple surgeries, the cancer remained along with a mass of scar tissue.

"Nobody else in the country really wanted to do this surgery," says Dr. Sam Marzo with Loyola University Health System.

Doctor Sam Marzo says Fiorentini risked paralysis if his facial nerve was cut, but Marzo successfully removed the cancer, and with advances in prosthetics, you'd never know what Fiorentini has been through.

"If you think about the special effects industry in movies, those kind of materials are now available for patients," Marzo explains.

Easily removable, Fiorentini's ear is made of silicone. From birthmarks to blood vessels, his ear looks just like the other.

"Let me tell you, nobody can tell that this is a false ear," he says.

The silicone prosthetic ears last from three to five years. It's a false ear that's made a real impression on Fiorentini.

"Counting my blessings," Fiorentini says.

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