The parotid glands, located just in front of the ears on each side of the face, are the largest of the three sets of major salivary glands. They are responsible for producing saliva to aid in chewing and digesting food.
Parotid tumors may present a variety of characteristics. If you have a parotid tumor, you may notice a mass or swelling in your jaw area that may or may not be painful. If the tumor is malignant, it may also affect facial nerves, causing pain, numbness, a burning or prickling sensation, or loss of movement in the face.
Signs and symptoms of a salivary gland tumor may include:
• A lump or swelling on or near your jaw or in your neck or mouth
• Numbness in part of your face
• Muscle weakness on one side of your face
• Persistent pain in the area of a salivary gland
• Difficulty swallowing
• Trouble opening your mouth widely
Salivary gland tumors are rare, accounting for less than 10 percent of all head and neck tumors. It's not clear what causes salivary gland tumors.
Doctors know salivary gland cancer occurs when some cells in a salivary gland develop mutations in their DNA. The mutations allow the cells to grow and divide rapidly. The mutated cells continue living when other cells would die. The accumulating cells form a tumor that can invade nearby tissue. Cancerous cells can break off and spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the bod
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