The major salivary gland include the parotid, submandibular and sublingual glands. These structures secrete saliva into the mouth and protect dental health. Most tumors of the salivary glands are benign and respond to surgery. Symptoms of a salivary gland tumor include a growth that can be palpated, pain in a salivary gland, and in more aggressive malignant tumors, weakness of facial movement.
If you or your family doctor suspects that you have a growth in a salivary gland, we recommend an ENT evaluation. Your otolaryngologist will examine the gland and neck lymph nodes and may suggest a fine needle aspiration study to collect cells from the growth that can be examined microscopically by a pathologist to determine the nature of the tumor. Your physican may also request special scans such as an MRI or CT scan to better examine the growth. Depending on the type of tumor, surgery may be advised. The physicians at Ear, Nose and Throat Associates have considerable experience with salivary gland surgery and take the extra precaution of using facial nerve monitoring for some types of salivary gland surgery to minimize any risk to the facial nerve. If radiation therapy is required, then we will work closely with our radiation oncology colleagues to ensure that a patient receives comprehensive cancer care.