Salivary gland tumors
When an abnormal growth is found in your salivary glands, they are referred to as salivary gland tumors. There are two types: benign, which is noncancerous, and malignant, which is cancerous.
Symptoms of salivary gland tumors may include:
- Lump in the cheek, under the chin, on the tongue or
on the roof of the mouth.
- Weakness of the muscles of the face.
Causes of salivary gland tumors
No one knows exactly why the tumors begin to form inside the salivary glands, but there are certain risk factors for developing them. They may include:
- Radiation exposure
- Long-term history of smoking
Evaluation and Treatment
- Your doctor will ask for a complete medical history and will perform a thorough physical examination. Different diagnostic studies may be ordered, including imaging studies, lab tests and detailed physical examinations. These may include:
- X-rays, to see where the tumor is located
- CT scan , to see where the tumor is located
- MRI scan , to see where the tumor is located
- Salivary gland biopsy, to evaluate the tumor
- Depending if your tumors are benign or cancerous, your doctor will recommend different treatments.
- Benign tumors are usually are
- Malignant tumors often can be treated with surgery alone. However, large, aggressive tumors usually require radiation following surgery. Tumors located in difficult places to remove surgically are treated with radiation or chemotherapy in order to shrink them.