Salivary Gland Cancer

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Signs and symptoms of salivary gland cancer

The major salivary glands are on each side of the face and below the tongue. Several important nerves and other structures run through or near salivary glands and can be affected by salivary tumors.

Possible signs and symptoms of salivary gland cancer include:

  • A lump or swelling in your mouth, cheek, jaw, or neck
  • Pain in your mouth, cheek, jaw, ear, or neck that does not go away
  • A difference between the size and/or shape of the left and right sides of your face or neck
  • Numbness in part of your face
  • Weakness of the muscles on one side of your face
  • Trouble opening your mouth widely
  • Fluid draining from an ear
  • Trouble swallowing

Many of these signs and symptoms can also be caused by benign (non-cancerous) salivary gland tumors or by other conditions. Still, if you have any of these problems, it’s important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

Last Medical Review: 01/13/2014
Last Revised: 03/03/2015