Salivary gland cancer

Most salivary gland tumours are benign, 3 out of 4 tumours that arise in the parotid glands are benign.

 

There are three main pairs of salivary glands: parotid, sublingual and submandibular and over 600 minor salivary glands. Most salivary gland tumours are benign, 3 out of 4 tumours that arise in the parotid glands are benign.There is a very slightly higher incidence in men and is most common in the 50-70 years age group.

Causes of salivary gland cancer

Risk factors include:
 

  • Smoking
  • Radiotherapy for a previous head and neck cancer
  • Exposure to radioactive sources
  • First degree relative having been diagnosed with salivary gland cancer and possibly HPV exposure

Other tumour types include acinic carcinoma, adenoid cystic and adenocarcinoma with a small number of mixed type.

Salivary gland cancer symptoms

A lump or swelling near the jaw – this is the most common symptom at presentation.

Lump/swelling in the mouth or neck

Drooping on one side of the face (facial palsy)

Pain/discomfort in the area

Difficulty in swallowing

Difficulty with fully opening the mouth

Tests and diagnosis

Tests for salivary gland cancer may include:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • X-ray of jaw and teeth
  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA)- a thin needle is used to collect cells from the lump/swelling for analysis.
  • MRI scan
  • Ultrasound scan

Treatments we offer

Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

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Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

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Radiotherapy kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.

Read more

Chemotherapy is medication that treats your cancer. The drugs kill cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and spreading further.

Read more

Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

Search for a centre near you

Maidstone

17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4UA

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Birmingham

Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3BF

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Nottingham

The Park Centre for oncology, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Nottingham, NG5 8RX

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Portsmouth

Bartons Road, Havant, PO9 5NA

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Guildford

BMI St Martha Oncology Centre, 46 Harvey Road, Guildford, GU1 3XL

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Southampton

Spire Hospital, Chalybeate Close, Southampton, SO16 6UY

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Chelmsford

Springfield Cancer Centre, Lawn Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 7GU

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Elstree

Unit 710, Centennial Park, Centennial Avenue, Elstree, Borehamwood, WD6 3SZ

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Oxford

Sandy Lane West, Peters Way, Oxford, OX4 6LB

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Milton Keynes

Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood East, Milton Keynes, MK14 6LS

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Newmarket

The Oaks, Fordham Road, Newmarket, CB8 7XN

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Windsor

69 Alma Road, Windsor, SL4 3HD

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