Dr. Nishit Modi, Consultant Surgical Oncologist, HCG Cancer Centre Vadodara.
Cancer is a disease that arises when the organ’s cells divide more rapidly than usual. If left unnoticed, it appears as a small lump that may eventually turn fatal.
Unhealthy habits such as smoking, consuming alcohol and intaking out tobacco act as significant risk factors that cause different types of cancer in the body, predominately oral cancer or cancers of the mouth. One such organ that can get affected mainly due to these unhealthy habits is the salivary gland.
This gland secures saliva, which facilitates food processing and digestion. When the cells of this gland turn abnormal, it can lead to salivary gland cancer.
The exact cause of salivary gland cancer is unknown, but some of the following factors are known to increase the risk of developing salivary gland cancer.
- · Exposure to specific radioactive compounds will raise the risk.
- · Environmental exposure to chemicals used in the leather industry, insecticides, industrial solvents, or sawdust
- · Smoking
- · Viral diseases like HIV
- · A diet rich in animal fat and deficient in vegetables
The symptoms of salivary gland cancer include facial numbness, a painless lump on the face, neck, or mouth, trouble moving some facial muscles or weakness, and swelling or discomfort in the neck, face, chin, or jawbone region. Swallowing difficulties, facial muscle weakness on one side
Diagnosis and Stages
The diagnosis is initialized with a general physical examination to determine the presence of a lump or a swollen tissue, which can further be examined using the following methods.
- ·X-Rays of the Salivary Glands, commonly known as Sialogram performed to check for tumors
- ·Ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI Scan is performed to confirm the presence of the tumor and to check if the tumor has migrated to the corresponding neck lymph nodes
- Fine needle aspiration or salivary gland biopsy is performed to determine the type of the tumor and to detect if the tumor is benign or malignant.
- A minimally invasive outpatient treatment called Sialendoscopy is used to find tiny tumors that could otherwise go undetected and develop into a later-stage malignancy.