How is salivary gland cancer treated?

Surgery is the main treatment option for benign salivary gland tumors. After surgery, your recovery focuses on preventing infection and managing pain. Your doctor may prescribe drugs like antibiotics and pain medications to achieve these goals.

For malignant salivary gland cancers, doctors perform surgery to remove the tumor. After surgery, you will likely receive radiation therapy to the area affected by cancer and the draining lymph nodes. Radiation helps kill all cancer cells so cancer can’t return.

In some cases, doctors recommend chemotherapy if cancer has spread from the salivary glands to other tissues outside the head and neck.

What complications are associated with salivary gland tumors?

Left untreated, some salivary gland tumors may become malignant over time. The symptoms of salivary gland cancers include rapid enlargement of a pre-existing mass in or around the mouth, numbness, weakness and facial pain. These symptoms may interfere with your ability to speak and swallow properly.

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