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.
About 80 percent of salivary gland tumors start in these glands. About 75 percent of these tumors are benign (usually a type called pleomorphic adenomas) and 25 percent are malignant.
A lump or swelling in your mouth, cheek, jaw, or neck. Pain in your mouth, cheek, jaw, ear, or neck that does not go away. A difference between the size and/or shape of the left and right sides of your face or neck. Numbness in part of your face.
Many salivary gland cancers can often be cured, especially if found early. Although curing the cancer is the primary goal of treatment, preserving the function of the nearby nerves, organs, and tissues is also very important.
About 2 out of every 3 salivary gland cancers are found in people 55 and older, with an average age of 64. Radiation exposure. Radiation therapy to the head or neck for another medical reason may increase the risk of developing salivary gland cancer.
Causes include dehydration, smoking and exposure to radiation. Most salivary tumors are noncancerous, and small blockages may pass without treatment.
Most cases surgery is the primary treatment of the salivary gland tumors preserving the surrounding nerves and vital structures. For advanced cases or advanced tumors post operative radiation may be advised. Chemotherapy may be given for advanced and recurrent cases.