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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
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Salivary Gland Cancer: Risk Factors (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
Treatments and Therapies
- Salivary Gland Cancer Treatment (National Cancer Institute)
- Treatment Option Overview (Salivary Gland Cancer) (National Cancer Institute) Available in Spanish
- Treatment Options by Stage (Salivary Gland Cancer) (National Cancer Institute) Available in Spanish
- 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)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Performance Characteristics of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of the Salivary Glands...
- Article: Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy of Salivary Gland Lesions.
- Article: Epidemiology, Prognostic Factors, and Treatment of Malignant Submandibular Gland Tumors:...
- Salivary Gland Cancer -- see more articles
- Mouth and Throat (National Cancer Institute) - PDF
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) Available in Spanish
- 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 Available in Spanish