Salivary Gland Cancer

What is salivary gland cancer?

The salivary glands make saliva and release it into the mouth. Saliva has enzymes that help digest food and antibodies that help protect against infections of the mouth and throat. There are 3 pairs of major salivary glands:

  • Parotid glands: These are the largest salivary glands and are found in front of and just below each ear. Most major salivary gland tumors begin in this gland.
  • Sublingual glands: These glands are found under the tongue in the floor of the mouth.
  • Submandibular glands: These glands are found below the jawbone.

There are also hundreds of small (minor) salivary glands lining parts of the mouth, nose, and larynx that can be seen only with a microscope. Most small salivary gland tumors begin in the palate (roof of the mouth).

More than half of all salivary gland tumors are benign (not cancerous) and do not spread to other tissues.

Salivary gland cancer is a type of head and neck cancer.

What increases the risk of salivary gland cancer?

Comment on this

Anything that increases the chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. Although the cause of most salivary gland cancers is not known, risk factors include the following:

  • Older age.
  • Treatment with radiation therapy to the head and neck.
  • Being exposed to certain substances at work.

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Salivary Gland Cancer - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you experience with your salivary gland cancer?
Salivary Gland Cancer - Risks Question: Please discuss any risk factors that may have contributed to your salivary gland cancer.
Salivary Gland Cancer - Diagnosis Question: What tests and exams did you experience that led to a diagnosis of salivary gland cancer?
Salivary Gland Cancer - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment, surgery, or therapy did you receive for salivary gland cancer?

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch Dies, Had Salivary Cancer

47-Year-Old Yauch Had Battled Salivary Cancer Since 2009

By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 4, 2012 -- Adam Yauch, 47, best known as MCA and a founding member of the Beastie Boys rap group, died today after a three-year battle with salivary gland cancer, Rolling Stone magazine reports.

In 2009, Yauch received surgery and radiation therapy for what was then believed to be an early-stage cancer of the salivary gland. It's not yet clear whether his death was due to the cancer.

The cancer had spread from his parotid gland to a lymph node, but Yauch fully expected to be cured...

SOURCE:
WebMD Health News


STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!