Salivary Gland Cancer

Salivary gland cancer is a rare cancer that forms in the tissues of the salivary glands. There are three pairs of major salivary glands under the tongue and near the ears and jawbones, and hundreds of small salivary glands in the mouth, nose, and larynx. More than half of all salivary gland tumors are benign and do not spread to other tissues.

Salivary gland cancer is a type of head and neck cancer. In 2020, head and neck cancers will account for approximately 4 percent of all cancers in the United States, or about 72,250 of the estimated 1.8 million new cancer cases, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Being exposed to certain types of radiation may increase the risk of salivary cancer. Other risk factors include older age and exposure to certain substances at work. Salivary gland cancers account for approximately 3 percent to 5 percent of all head and neck cancers in the United States.

Salivary Gland Cancer Treatment (Adult) (PDQ®)

Source: National Cancer Institute