Can Salivary Gland Cancer Be Prevented?

Because we don’t know what causes most salivary gland cancers, we don’t yet know how to prevent many of them.

Avoid exposure to certain infections

Certain viral infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and human papillomavirus (HPV), might be linked to an increased risk of salivary gland cancers. Avoiding exposure to these viruses might help lower your risk. And although more research is needed to understand finding HPV in some salivary gland cancers, there are vaccines available to help prevent 6 HPV-related cancers.

Avoid tobacco

Even though smoking cigarettes has been linked to certain types of benign salivary gland tumor, avoiding tobacco might also help lower your risk of other tobacco related cancers including other head and neck cancers and lung cancer, as well as many other diseases.

Avoid certain workplace exposures

For people who work in certain industries linked with an increased risk of salivary gland cancer, taking precautions to protect themselves might help lower their risk.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Laurie SA. Salivary gland tumors: Epidemiology, diagnosis, evaluation, and staging. In: Shah S, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, Mass.: UpToDate, 2021. https://www.uptodate.com. Accessed April 22, 2021.

National Cancer Institute. Physician Data Query (PDQ). Salivary Gland Cancer: Treatment. 2019. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/head-and-neck/hp/adult/salivary-gland-treatment-pdq on April 22, 2021.

References

Laurie SA. Salivary gland tumors: Epidemiology, diagnosis, evaluation, and staging. In: Shah S, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, Mass.: UpToDate, 2021. https://www.uptodate.com. Accessed April 22, 2021.

National Cancer Institute. Physician Data Query (PDQ). Salivary Gland Cancer: Treatment. 2019. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/head-and-neck/hp/adult/salivary-gland-treatment-pdq on April 22, 2021.

Last Revised: March 18, 2022

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