There are three major salivary glands include the parotid, submandibular and sublingual glands. In addition, there are thousands of minor salivary glands lining the oral cavity. Tumours commonly arise from these glands. The follow the “80% rule” which is;
- 80% of tumors arising from the majority salivary glands arise from the parotid gland
- 80% of parotid tumors are benign
- 80% of parotid gland benign tumors are pleomorphic adenomas
- 80% of minor salivary glands are malignant
Salivary gland lumps usually present as a lump, at the angle of the jaw in parotid lumps, under the jaw in submandibular lumps, under the chin for sublingual lumps. Some salivary swelling may be related to meals. This suggests a stone blocking the outflow duct. Persistent lumps should be investigated. A fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) and radiological imaging are the usual tests done.
Malignant salivary tumors usually present with
- Rapid increase in size
- Hardness and pain
- Fixation to surrounding tissue
- Facial weakness (in parotid tumors)
- Cervical lymph node spread
Treatment – Most salivary gland tumors need to be surgical removed. Infections can be treated with antibiotics.