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Salivary Gland Cancer

Summary

Your salivary glands make saliva – sometimes called spit – and empty it into your mouth through openings called ducts. Saliva makes your food moist, which helps you chew and swallow. It helps you digest your food. It also cleans your mouth and contains antibodies that can kill germs.

Salivary gland cancer is a type of head and neck cancer. It is rare. It may not cause any symptoms, or you could notice

  • A lump in your ear, cheek, jaw, lip, or inside the mouth
  • Fluid draining from your ear
  • Trouble swallowing or opening the mouth widely
  • Numbness, weakness, or pain in your face

Doctors diagnose salivary gland cancer using a physical exam, imaging tests, and a biopsy. Treatment can include surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

National Cancer Institute

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