Salivary Gland Cancer

Overview

Salivary gland cancer is cancer found in any of the salivary glands in the mouth, neck and throat. There are 3 major types of salivary glands:

  • Parotid glands: The largest salivary glands, they’re found in each cheek, over the lower jaw and in front of the ears.
  • Sublingual glands: Found under the tongue, on the floor of the mouth
  • Submandibular glands: Found at the back of the mouth, on both sides of the jaw
Additional small glands, called minor salivary glands, are located in the lips, inner cheeks and the lining of the mouth and throat.

Symptoms

Salivary gland cancer symptoms may include:

  • Painless swelling of the glands in front of the ears, under the chin or on the floor of the mouth
  • A firm mass or swelling in the face or neck
  • Burning, prickling, tickling or tingling sensation in the face (paresthesia)
  • Difficulty moving one side of your face

Diagnosis

First, you’ll meet with your doctor for a physical exam. You’ll talk about your symptoms and your doctor may order imaging tests such as an MRI, PET or CT scan. After that, your doctor may perform a biopsy.

Treatment Options

If you have salivary gland cancer, your team of expert neurosurgeons at Aurora will work with you to determine the best course of treatment. 

Treatment may include:

Surgery to remove the tumor

Radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy if the cancer has spread to other areas of the body

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