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Salivary Gland Tumours – (Parotid Tumours)

Parotid tumours are a very rare type of tumours that form in the salivary glands. Abnormal cells grow and multiply in the salivary glands and form tumours.

There are many types of salivary glands that are located in the mouth, behind the jaw, cheek, lips and throat. Tumour can form in any one of these salivary glands.

But the most favourable location for salivary gland tumours is parotid glands. Most parotid tumours are benign (non-cancerous), but some can become cancerous. ENT doctors perform surgery to remove a parotid tumour. In some cases, doctors recommend additional treatments as well.

Parotid tumours

Parotid Tumour Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of salivary gland tumours may include, swelling or a lump near your jaw or in your mouth or neck, numbness in some part of your face

  • Persistent pain in the salivary gland
  • Swelling in the jaw or face which is not painful
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Muscles weakness
  • Pain and weakness on one side of the face
  • Pricking sensation, burning or numbness in the face
  • Loss of facial movement
  • Trouble opening the mouth widely

Parotid Tumors Causes

Parotid tumour form when some cells in the salivary gland develop changes in their DNA, which contains the instructions that tell a cell what to do.

These changes instruct the cells to grow and divide rapidly. The healthy cells would die whereas the abnormal cells will go on multiplying exponentially and forming a tumour by accumulating more and more cells.

Types of Parotid Tumours

Many types of salivary gland tumours exist. Based on the type of cells involved in the tumours, doctors classify salivary gland tumour.

Types of benign (noncancerous) salivary gland tumours include:

  • Pleomorphic adenoma
  • Canalicular adenoma
  • Oncocytoma
  • Warthin tumour

Types of malignant (cancerous salivary gland tumours include:

  • Acinic cell carcinoma
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Clear cell carcinoma
  • Salivary duct carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Tests and procedures used to diagnose a parotid tumour

An experienced ENT doctor – Head and neck specialist perform a comprehensive physical examination and feel the throat, neck and jaw to detect swelling or lumps. If the doctor suspects an abnormality, he or she will recommend FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration), or core needle biopsy. To collect a sample of cells or tissues from the parotid gland, the doctor inserts a needle into the gland. Pathologists study the cells for any morphological abnormalities and confirm the diagnosis. The ENT doctor – based on the laboratory reports, determine the prognosis and the best treatment options.

Parotid tumours radiology: An ENT doctor may also recommend a few more tests including high-resolution imaging tests of parotid glands to understand the size of the tumour. For confirmed cases of parotid cancer, doctors recommend parotid tumour ultrasound, CT, MRI or PETCT to know whether cancer has spread to other parts of the body (parotid tumour metastasis).

Treatment of Parotid Tumour

If you are diagnosed with a salivary gland tumour, an ENT doctor, based on the stage of cancer, will provide you with the best treatment. In general, the treatment

of parotid tumour is surgical. Some patients may need additional treatments if they have a salivary gland tumour, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Parotid tumour Surgery

Removal of a portion of the affected salivary gland: If the tumour is located in an easy-to-access spot and is small, the ENT surgeon will remove the tumour and a portion of healthy tissues around it.

Removal of entire salivary gland: ENT doctor will remove the entire salivary gland if the tumour is large.

Removing lymph nodes from your neck: If your salivary gland tumour is malignant, the ENT surgeon may recommend removing some lymph nodes from the neck.

The diagnosis of salivary gland tumour is frightening for some, but each person has their own way of dealing with it. Dr Neetu Modgil possesses hands-on experience and expertise in dealing with all types of Head & Neck Cancers. Those who are experiencing any persistent signs and symptoms should make an appointment with her.


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