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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
- Salivary Gland Cancer: Risk Factors (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
Treatments and Therapies
- Treatment Option Overview (Salivary Gland Cancer) (National Cancer Institute)
- Treatment Options by Stage (Salivary Gland Cancer) (National Cancer Institute)
- Treatment Options for Recurrent 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 Are the Key Statistics about Salivary Gland Cancer? (American Cancer Society)
- What's New in Salivary Gland Cancer Research and Treatment? (American Cancer Society)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Salivary duct carcinoma: the predominance of apocrine morphology, prevalence of...
- Article: Recurrent sublingual ranula or saliva leakage from the submandibular gland?...
- Article: Does salivary duct repositioning prevent complications after tumor resection or...
- Salivary Gland Cancer -- see more articles
- Mouth and Throat (National Cancer Institute)
Find an Expert
- American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery
- 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 Available in Spanish
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Available in Spanish
- Organizations That Offer Support Services (National Cancer Institute)
- After chemotherapy - discharge Available in Spanish
- Salivary gland biopsy Available in Spanish
- Salivary gland tumors Available in Spanish
- Sialogram Available in Spanish
- Swallowing problems Available in Spanish
- Understanding Chemotherapy (National Cancer Institute) - PDF Available in Spanish
- What to Know about External Beam Radiation Therapy (National Cancer Institute) - PDF