Parotid gland tumors develop in the parotid gland, which is the largest of the salivary glands. While many of these tumors are benign, most salivary gland cancers begin in the parotid gland.
Each year in the United States there are
The parotid glands are the largest of the salivary glands. When a tumor forms in these glands, you may experience a lump in your cheek, jaw, or mouth that doesn’t go away and numbness or pain in your face. A doctor may suggest surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation to treat these tumors.
This article will focus on parotid gland tumors, how many tumors are benign versus malignant, and possible treatment options.
Parotid gland tumors are abnormal cell growths that develop in the parotid glands.
Although parotid gland tumors can affect people of any age, they’re most likely to occur in older individuals. The average age of salivary gland cancer diagnosis is
- a lump or swelling in your cheek, mouth, or jaw
- trouble opening your mouth widely and/or swallowing
- fluid draining out of your ear
- facial numbness or loss of facial movement
- pins and needle or burning sensations in your face
There are many types of parotid gland tumors, because there are many different types of cells in the parotid gland. These include:
- gland cells
- duct cells
- connective tissue cells
- mucoepidermoid carcinoma
- carcinoma ex-pleomorphic adenoma
- salivary duct carcinoma
- primary squamous cell carcinoma
- acinic cell carcinoma
Tumors in the parotid gland can be benign or malignant. Approximately 20% of parotid tumors are malignant. This percentage is even higher for children.
While a majority of these tumors are benign, knowing the symptoms and getting treatment as early as possible remains important.
The cause of many salivary gland tumors is
You may be
You’re also at a greater chance of a parotid gland tumor if you’re older.
Your doctor will consider a variety of factors when determining the best treatment or combination of treatments for you. These include:
- the size and location of you tumor(s)
- whether or not cancer has spread to other portions of your body
- your general health and age
- how your body responds to various treatments
Treatment may depend on whether the parotid gland tumor is diagnosed as benign or malignant. Your doctor may recommend observation if the tumor is benign, whereas more specific treatment like surgery may be needed for a malignant tumor.
Malignant tumors are more likely to develop in the parotid gland when a person is
The average 5-year survival rate for malignant salivary gland tumors is approximately
It’s important to remember that every individual’s experience will be unique.
The parotid gland is the largest of the salivary glands. It’s the most common location for salivary gland cancer to develop. When tumors form in the parotid gland, you may experience a lump in your cheek, jaw, or mouth and pain or numbness in your face.
It’s important to let a doctor know if you suspect that you have a parotid or salivary gland tumor. If diagnostic tests confirm a tumor, prompt treatment with surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation can result in better health outcomes.
A majority of parotid gland tumors are benign rather than malignant. Whether a tumor is benign or malignant may be a key factor in what treatment options a doctor recommends.