Approximately 2-3% of tumors in the body are seen in the head and neck region. 3% of tumors in this area originate from the salivary glands and can be surgically treated because they can be noticed at an early stage. Masses usually manifest as swelling in front of the ear or under the chin. In more advanced stages, it can lead to situations such as limitation of jaw movements, facial paralysis, facial numbness, and difficulty swallowing. Therefore, early treatment is of great importance. From the Department of Ear Nose Throat Diseases and Head and Neck Surgery at Memorial Antalya Hospital, Assoc. Dr. Levent Renda gave information about salivary gland cancers and their treatment.
Generally, tumors are seen in salivary glands in front of the ear
80% of salivary gland tumors originate from the anterior salivary glands, namely the parotid gland. 80% of parotid gland tumors are benign, ie benign tumors. In our country, this disease is seen in 1/2000 people. Other salivary gland tumors are rare and often arise from the submandibular salivary glands or sublingual salivary glands. Tumors seen in these last two regions have a higher potential to be malignant. More rarely, tumors may develop in the soft palate, hard palate, or small salivary glands in the pharynx area.
Additional treatment may be required after surgery
In salivary gland tumors; The diagnosis is made by fine-needle aspiration biopsy taken from the mass, after obtaining information about the mass with imaging methods such as USG and / or MR-CT. Thus, it is understood whether additional treatment will be required after surgery. In some cases, the results obtained from the biopsy may not be sufficient. In such cases, the mass is radiologically examined and if it is malignant, surgery is applied. If there is no obstacle in the general condition of the patient, malignant salivary gland tumors should be operated.
Benign tumors can turn into cancer in the future
The treatment of most of the benign tumors is surgery. The reason for the surgery of benign tumors is to eliminate the risk of developing malignant tumors in the future. In anterior ear gland tumors, the salivary gland is scraped off the facial nerve. Therefore, success in these types of tumors is directly proportional to the experience of the surgeon. Postoperative numbness or partial paralysis may occur. More rarely, permanent facial paralysis may develop. Short-term swallowing difficulties may occur after sub-jaw and sublingual salivary gland surgeries.
The neck area is also cleaned during surgery
In the treatment of some malignant tumors, the neck area should be cleaned simultaneously. In these tumors, cancerous cells have the potential to spread to lymph vessels of the neck. In such cases, the patient may be recommended postoperative radiotherapy and / or chemotherapy. Treatment results of salivary gland tumors can be extremely successful. This increases the quality and duration of life significantly.