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, which also includes cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), paranasal sinuses, and nasal cavity. About 71,100 cases of head and neck cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2024, and about 16,110 deaths will occur, according to the National Cancer Institute. Salivary gland cancers account for about 3 percent to 5 percent of all head and neck cancers in the United States.

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 Cancer Treatment (Adult) (PDQ®)

Source: National Cancer Institute