Your salivary glands make saliva - sometimes called spit - and empty it into your mouth through openings called ducts. Saliva makes your food moist, which helps you chew and swallow. It helps you digest your food. It also cleans your mouth and contains antibodies that can kill germs.
Salivary gland cancer is a type of head and neck cancer. It is rare. It may not cause any symptoms, or you could notice
- A lump in your ear, cheek, jaw, lip, or inside the mouth
- Fluid draining from your ear
- Trouble swallowing or opening the mouth widely
- Numbness, weakness, or pain in your face
Doctors diagnose salivary gland cancer using a physical exam, imaging tests, and a biopsy. Treatment can include surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
Diagnosis and Tests
- How Is Salivary Gland Cancer Diagnosed? (American Cancer Society)
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Salivary Gland Cancer: Risk Factors (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
Treatments and Therapies
- Salivary Gland Cancer Treatment (National Cancer Institute)
- What Happens After Treatment for Salivary Gland Cancer? (American Cancer Society)
- Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
Statistics and Research
- What's New in Salivary Gland Cancer Research and Treatment? (American Cancer Society)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Salivary Gland Neoplasms (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Extracapsular Dissection vs Superficial Parotidectomy of Benign Parotid Lesions: Surgical...
- Article: Heterogeneous impact of smoking on major salivary gland cancer according...
- Article: Outcomes and Prognostic Factors of Resected Salivary Gland Malignancies: Examining...
- Salivary Gland Cancer -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- American Cancer Society
- Find a Cancer Doctor (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
- Find an ENT (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
- National Cancer Institute Also in Spanish
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Also in Spanish
- Organizations That Offer Support Services (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- After chemotherapy - discharge (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Salivary gland biopsy (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Salivary gland tumors (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Sialogram (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Swallowing problems (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Understanding Chemotherapy (National Cancer Institute) - PDF Also in Spanish
- What to Know about External Beam Radiation Therapy (National Cancer Institute) - PDF Also in Spanish