Salivary gland cancer is a rare type of head and neck cancer. It begins when the cells that make up the salivary glands form tumors.
Benign (noncancerous) tumors can also form in the salivary glands, and these are much more common. Around 70 percent of salivary gland tumors are benign.
Most tumors begin in the parotid glands. They are the largest of the salivary glands, located in front of the ears. Parotid gland tumors are often benign. Tumors also form in the other salivary glands, such as the submandibular gland, the sublingual gland, and the minor salivary glands. Tumors in these locations are more likely to be cancerous.
Surgery is usually the primary treatment for salivary gland tumors. Radiation therapy is also a very common and effective part of care in some cases. Drug (chemo) therapy is more often recommended for advanced salivary gland cancers and may be offered through a clinical trial testing new treatments to see how well they work.
Our Head and Neck surgeons have significant expertise in surgical treatment of these types of tumors.