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Salivary Gland Cancer

Salivary Gland Cancer Causes

To date, it is not exactly clear how salivary gland cancer develops. However, it is believed to result from a number of environmental factors, such as exposure to radiation, smoking or chewing tobacco, as well as a history of salivary gland cancer in the family.

Salivary Gland Cancer Definition

Salivary gland cancer is a rare carcinoma affecting the salivary glands of the mouth, throat, or neck.

Salivary Gland Cancer Diagnosis

Imaging studies such as Computerized tomography (CT) scans and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are commonly used to detect cancerous tissue in the salivary glands. A biopsy of sample tissues can also provide a more definite diagnosis.

Salivary Gland Cancer Symptoms and Signs

A telltale sign of salivary gland cancer is the appearance of a painless lump on or near the jaw, neck, or mouth. Other symptoms include: numbness in some areas of the face; one-sided facial muscle weakness; persistent pain; swallowing difficulties; inability to open the mouth widely; as well as a sudden noticeable difference in size between the left and right sides of the face.

Salivary Gland Cancer Treatment

Salivary gland cancer treatment often includes surgery, with or without radiation therapy. If the carcinoma has not spread beyond the salivary glands, surgery alone may successfully remove the cancer. However, if the tumor is particularly large or irremovable through surgery, radiation therapy may be required. In addition, physical therapy and sometimes reconstructive surgery are integrated in treatment.

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