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Signs and Symptoms of Salivary Gland Cancer

Salivary gland cancer is a rare cancer that begins in the salivary glands, which are found in the mouth, neck and throat. Most salivary gland cancers form in the parotid gland, which is just in front of the ear.  The two other major salivary glands where tumors form are the submandibular gland and the sublingual gland.

Only 2% of head and neck cancers form in the salivary glands. More than half of all salivary gland tumors are benign, and do not spread to other tissues. We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of salivary gland cancer below.

The Signs and Symptoms of Salivary Gland Cancer are as follows:

  • A painless lump in the area of the cheek, jaw, lip, or inside the mouth
  • Facial paralysis
  • Numbness in part of your face
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty opening the mouth widely
  • Drainage from the ear
  • Facial pain that does not go away

Sometimes there are no signs and symptoms of salivary gland cancer. It is sometimes found during a regular dental check-up or a physical exam. The signs and symptoms of salivary gland cancer may be caused by other conditions. If you experience any of the above signs and symptoms of salivary gland cancer, see your doctor.

Though it can occur at any age, salivary gland cancer is most commonly diagnosed in older adults. Those who have had exposure to certain toxic substances at work may be more at risk for salivary gland cancer, as are those who have received radiation treatments to the head and neck area.

Diagnosis of Salivary Gland Cancer

Tests that help in the diagnosis of salivary gland cancer include imaging tests such as a CT scan or MRI. To definitively make a diagnosis of salivary gland cancer, the suspicious tissue must be biopsied. In a biopsy, the tissue is removed and examined under a microscope. Often the salivary gland is removed during surgery, and then checked for cancerous cells.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Salivary Gland Cancer

21st Century Ultimate Medical Guide to Salivary Gland Cancer- Authoritative, Practical Clinical Information for Physicians and Patients, Treatment Options (Two CD-ROM Set)
PM Medical Health News
21st Century Complete Medical Guide to Head and Neck Cancer (Lip, Oral Cavity, Salivary Gland, Laryngeal, Pharyngeal, Nasal and Sinus Cancer) – … on Diagnosis and Treatment Options
PM Medical Health News

The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Salivary Gland Cancer: A Revised and Updated Directory for the Internet Age
ICON Health Publications
Johns Hopkins Patients’ Guide to Head and Neck Cancer (Johns Hopkins Medicine)
Christine G. Gourin

Salivary Gland Cancer Resources

General Patient Resources

  • National Cancer Institute

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of salivary gland cancer.

  • American Cancer Society

Detailed guide on salivary gland cancer by the American Cancer Society.

  • Medicine Net .com

Get information on cancer of the salivary glands diagnosis (biopsy), treatment (surgery, chemotherapy), prognosis, statistics, support, symptoms and signs

  • Macmillan Cancer Center

Information on salivary gland cancer describing what it is, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments.

  • Cancer Compass

Our online cancer forum offers a supportive community full of valuable resources and information for those diagnosed with salivary gland cancer. Whether you want to research treatment methods or simply share your own story, please visit us today to learn more.,0,119,39,43.htm

  • RD

Salivary gland cancer information including symptoms, diagnosis, misdiagnosis, treatment, causes, patient stories, videos, forums, prevention, and prognosis.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, risks, treatment of this mouth, throat cancer.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.

  • Web MD

General information about salivary gland cancer.