Salivary glands make saliva, which aids in digestion, keeps your mouth moist, and supports healthy teeth. There are three pairs of major salivary glands under and behind your jaw — parotid, sublingual, and submandibular. Salivary gland tumors are rare and can begin in any of your salivary glands. Most are benign and noncancerous. Most tumors occur in the parotid glands.
Symptoms and Risk Factors
· A lump or swelling on or near your jaw or in your neck or mouth
· Muscle weakness on one side of your face
· Difficulty swallowing
· Numbness in part of your face
· Persistent pain around a salivary gland
· Trouble opening your mouth widely
Older age — Though salivary gland tumors can occur at any age, they more commonly occur in older adults.
Radiation exposure — Radiation treatments for cancer, such as radiation used to treat head and neck cancers, can increase the risk of salivary gland tumors.
Workplace exposure to certain substances — People who work in jobs such as rubber manufacturing, asbestos mining, plumbing, and similar occupations may have an increased risk of salivary gland tumors.
If your tumor is small and located in an easily accessed spot, surgery can remove a portion of the affected salivary gland by removing the tumor and a small portion of the healthy tissue that surrounds it. For larger tumors, it may be recommended that the entire salivary gland is removed.
Salivary gland surgery can be difficult because there are several important nerves located in and around the glands. For example, the nerve that controls facial movement runs through the parotid gland.
Make an appointment if you have any persistent signs or symptoms that cause worry. Having a lump or an area of swelling near your salivary gland is the most common sign of a tumor.
At Ohio Head and Neck Surgeons, we understand your concerns when seeking diagnosis and treatment options for Ear, Nose, and Throat injuries and diseases. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our quality ENT specialists. For more information on scheduling click here.
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