Salivary gland cancers are any malignant growth found in the salivary glands. These glands produce saliva and have three major areas:

  • Parotid glands
  • Submandibular glands
  • Minor salivary glands

Cancers that occur in these glands include mucoepidermoid, acinic cell carcinoma, and adenoid cystic carcinoma.

This cancer is highly treatable if caught early, so it is important to be evaluated immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Lumps in the mouth or neck
  • Bleeding sores in the mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Weakness in facial movement
  • Numbness or tingling in the face or neck

No one knows why a malignant or cancerous growth begins to grow. However certain risk factors for salivary gland cancers include:

  • Exposure to radiation

To make a complete and accurate diagnosis, your doctor will perform the following:

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Complete exam on your mouth, nose, head, and face to determine the type and nature of the growth
  • Biopsy to examine the tumor tissue and determine the kind of cancer, how aggressive it is, and the best way to treat it
  • Diagnostic, including imaging studies, lab tests, and detailed physical examinations, including:
    • X-rays
    • MRI
    • CT scan
    • PET scan

Treatment for salivary gland cancer depends on when and where the cancer is found, as well as the type and grade of the tumor, but usually includes

After your surgery and completing chemotherapy and/or radiation, your doctor will want to monitor you closely to make sure the cancer has not reoccurred. The visits may be as frequently as once a month for the first year following treatment. These visits will typically consist of a physical examination, a discussion of how you are feeling, and any diagnostic tests needed to determine your health.

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