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Salivary gland cancers are not very common, making up 6% to 8% of all head and neck cancers in the United States. There are about 2,000 to 2,500 cases in the US each year. They occur at a rate of about 3 cases per 100,000 people per year in the Western world.
These cancers can occur in people of almost any age, but they become more common as people get older. The average age of people when they are diagnosed is 55.
Most salivary gland cancers are found in the parotid glands, followed by the submandibular, sublingual, and minor salivary glands.
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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.
Leeman JE, Katabi N, Wong RJ, Lee NY, Romesser PB. Ch. 65 - Cancer of the Head and Neck. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa. Elsevier; 2020.
Mendenhall WM, Dziegielewski PT, Pfister DG. Chapter 45- Cancer of the Head and Neck. In: DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’s Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2019.
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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