Salivary gland tumors


The following procedures and tests may be used to identify a parotid tumor:

  • Physical examination: The specialist will perform a physical examination to check for any sign and symptoms. If detected, additional tests will be recommended to diagnose and evaluate the tumor.
  • Imaging test: Include computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound. This is to create a detailed imaging of the structure inside the head and neck area to accurately show abnormal masses. It can show the size, shape, location and determine the extent of the cancer.
  • Tissue biopsy: To obtain a tissue sample for examination, a specialist may advise a needle biopsy, such as fine-needle aspiration or core needle biopsy. A small needle is inserted into the suspected parotid gland through your skin during a needle biopsy in order to draw a sample of cells or fluid then send to the laboratory to determine the cells type and test for any sign of cancer.


Surgical removal of the tumor is usually used to treat parotid tumors. Additional treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be recommended if the tumor is cancerous.


The following procedures are used to remove parotid tumors:

  • Superficial parotidectomy: Removal of the tumor and some of the surrounding tissues of the parotid gland.
  • Total parotidectomy: The parotid gland is completely surgically removed. It is recommended for larger tumors and more areas of the parotid gland affected.
  • More extensive surgery: If the parotid cancer has spread to the bone or muscles nearby, it will be necessary to remove more of the surrounding healthy tissues. After the surgery is performed, the specialists will need to repair the area so that the patient can resume eating, swallowing, speaking, breathing, and moving the face.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is the uses of strong energy beams to destroy cancer cells, such as X-rays, protons, or neutrons. Radiation therapy may be advised if the parotid tumor is malignant in order to remove any remaining cancer cells following surgery. When surgery is not possible then radiation therapy is used as the initial course of treatment.


Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses medications to kill cancer cells. It is rarely used to treat parotid tumors. However, it is sometimes used in combination with radiation therapy to treat parotid cancers that are at high risk of spreading or that cannot be completely removed with surgery. Chemotherapy may also be an option for people suffering from advanced parotid cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.