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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
- Treatment Option Overview (Salivary Gland Cancer) (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: BDNF/TRKB axis provokes EMT progression to induce cell aggressiveness via crosstalk...
- Article: Development and characterization of patient-derived salivary gland cancer organoid cultures.
- Article: Retrospective Analysis of 136 Patients Operated for a Parotid Global Tumor.
- 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 Cancer Support Services (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish