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Salivary Gland Cancer

Summary

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

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
  • (American Cancer Society)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (American Cancer Society)

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)

Treatments and Therapies

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)

Living With

  • (American Cancer Society)

Specifics

  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)

Statistics and Research

  • (American Cancer Society)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
  • (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in

Patient Handouts

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