What are Salivary Gland Tumors?
Salivary gland tumors are a kind of neoplasm that develops from cells in the salivary glands, which are responsible for saliva production. These tumors can develop in any of the main salivary glands, including the parotid glands (placed in front of the ears), submandibular glands (behind the jaw), and sublingual glands (below the tongue).
While the majority of salivary gland tumors are benign, a small minority of them might be malignant or cancerous. Tumors of the salivary glands are abnormal cells that form in the glands or the tubes (ducts) that drain the glands. Salivary gland tumors can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). If left untreated, benign tumors might develop into malignant tumors over time.
Malignant salivary gland tumors are uncommon, accounting for 6% of all head and neck malignancies. A slow-growing benign tumor in the parotid gland is the most frequent form of salivary gland tumor (80% of all salivary gland tumors). Minor salivary gland tumors are quite uncommon. The categorization and kinds of salivary gland tumors are complicated since they include a wide range of histological subtypes. The most frequent type of salivary gland tumor is a pleomorphic adenoma, which is usually benign but can occasionally become malignant. Warthin’s tumor, oncocytoma, and basal cell adenoma are all examples of benign salivary gland tumors. Malignant salivary gland tumors, on the other hand, include mucoepidermoid carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, acinic cell carcinoma, and carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma, among others.
The clinical appearance of salivary gland tumors varies based on the tumor’s location, size, and histological type. A painless mass or enlargement in the afflicted gland, facial discomfort or numbness, trouble swallowing, facial paralysis, or recurring salivary gland infections are common symptoms.
Causes of Salivary Gland Tumor
Most salivary gland tumors have an unknown cause, although genetic research groups are trying to search for the causes. Skin cancer can extend to the parotid gland in some situations. One sort of benign tumor is also caused by smoking.
Symptoms of Salivary Gland Tumor
Swelling in one of the salivary glands (in front of the ears, beneath the chin, or on the floor of the mouth) that is firm and typically painless. Depending on the underlying reason, swelling can proceed at varied speeds. Slow swelling often suggests a benign tumor, but quick swelling signals a malignant tumor or infection.
Facial nerve palsy is the inability to move one side of the face. This can indicate the presence of a malignant and advanced tumor, most commonly in the parotid gland.
Treatment of Salivary Gland Tumor
If you have a benign tumor, your doctor may advise surgical excision to prevent it from progressing to malignancy. A benign parotid tumor can be removed surgically using a method known as a partial superficial parotidectomy.
Surgery is the most common method of eliminating malignant tumors. Malignant tumors of small to medium size can be removed with partial superficial parotidectomy, but most require more extensive surgery because of their location. If the illness has gone beyond the salivary glands, surgery might be combined with radiation treatment and chemotherapy.
Salivary gland tumors are a broad category of neoplasms that can range from benign to malignant. While they are uncommon, they need specialized examination and care. Early discovery, precise diagnosis, and proper treatment are critical for persons with salivary gland tumors to have the best potential results. Research efforts are continuing to better understand the underlying causes and develop specific therapeutics for these tumors, with the goal of eventually improving the prognosis and quality of life for those affected.
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