How is salivary gland cancer diagnosed?

Your doctor diagnoses salivary gland cancer with a physical examination and a review of your medical and personal history. In some cases, doctors order additional diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of a tumor. These tests may include:

  • CT scans using X-rays to provide images of masses within salivary glands
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, which use magnets and radio waves to create pictures of internal body structures
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scans using small amounts of radioactive materials to identify cancerous masses
  • Fine-needle biopsy to collect a small tissue and fluid sample from a salivary gland tumor for further examination in a laboratory

When should I call my doctor?

If you have any of the symptoms of a salivary gland tumor listed above, especially if your symptoms persist for more than two weeks, contact your doctor for a diagnostic evaluation.

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