Salivary Gland Tumors
Salivary gland tumors are a rare disease in which benign or malignant cells form in the tissues of the salivary glands. Saliva has enzymes that help digest food and antibodies that help protect against infections of the mouth and throat. There are 3 pairs of major salivary glands that include the parotid, sublingual, and submandibular glands. The largest and most common site of salivary gland tumors is the parotid glands. There are also hundreds of small, minor salivary glands lining parts of the mouth, nose, and throat. Most small salivary gland tumors begin in the palate (roof of the mouth). More than half of all salivary gland tumors are benign (not cancerous) and do not spread to other tissues. Symptoms may include a lump or mass, change in swallow, numbness or weakness in the face, and/or pain. Initial management is often surgery although additional treatment may be indicated. There are many factors that determine treatment including size of the tumor, type of disease, and stage of cancer. Minnesota Oral & Facial surgeons are skilled in diagnosis and management of this relatively rare type of tumor.
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