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Types of Head & Neck Cancer

Salivary Gland Growths


  Only about 1 out of every 5 tumours  found in the parotid gland are cancerous.  A small number are found in the submandibular gland and even less in the other glands.  Benign tumours usually grow slowly over months or years and are usually hard and painless.  Cancerous tumours tend to grow more quickly and cause pain and tenderness.


  Removing a parotid gland tumour usually means having an operation called a parotidectomy.  Because an important nerve runs through this gland, surgery can be tricky.  This is the facial nerve, which controls the movement of muscles in your face, including your eyes and mouth.  Damage to this nerve can cause drooping of the eyebrow or corner of the mouth, lips that cannot be held together tightly or an eye that doesn't close properly.  Your surgeon will take every care to make sure this doesn’t happen, but it may be unavoidable.  You may want to ask your surgeon about this if you are concerned.


  With faster growing, more aggressive tumours you may need a combination of surgery and radiotherapy.  









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