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Updated on June 10, 2021

Salivary Gland Cancer

There are 3 major salivary glands on each side of our face which make saliva which is important for our oral health.  Saliva contains enzymes which help in the process of digesting food as well as antibodies to prevent infections of the mouth.  It also helps to lubricate our mouth and throat to allows us to swallow dry or hard foods easily and prevent sore or dry throat after talking too much.

The salivary glands are

  • The parotid gland is the largest salivary gland and is situated just in front of the ear and accounts for around 70% of all salivary cancers .
  • The submandibular gland is smaller and is situated just below the jaw.
  • The sublingual gland is the smallest and is situated under the floor of the mouth and below either side of the tongue.

Symptoms & Signs of Salivary Gland Cancer

  • Mass or Swelling at the neck region
  • Difficulty opening mouth or swallowing
  • Change in voice
  • Numbness or weakness in the face
  • Pain on one side of the face

Click to view BeyondFive video on Salivary Gland Cancer

The treatment options and prognosis depend on the following;

  • Stage and extent of the cancer
  • Which salivary gland is affected
  • Type of cancer cells
  • The patient’s age and health status

Stage of Salivary Gland Cancer

Stage 0 Carcinoma in situ where there cancer cells
Stage 1Tumour is less than 2 cm and within in the gland
Stage 2Tumour is between 2-4 cm and within in the gland
Stage 3Tumour is larger than 4 cm and/or spread out to surrounding tissue or if tumour of whatever size and has spread to 1 lymph node less than 3 cmm
Stage 4aTumour has spread to out and involves 1 lymph node smaller than 3 cm but has grown outside of the node or 2 or more lymph nodes between 3-6 cm but not grown outside of the node
Stage 4bTumour has spread out and to the skin. It involves 1 lymph node larger than 6 cm but not grown outside the node or involves 2 or more lymph nodes on either/both sides and has grown outside the node
Stage 4cTumour has spread to other  parts of the body

Treatment of Salivary Gland Cancer

Salivary Gland Cancer is usually treated by a team of doctors and healthcare professionals which include the ENT surgeon, Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeon, Speech Therapist and Oncologist.  Treatment may involve

Discuss the treatment options with your ENT specialist

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Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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