How Does A Parotid Tumor Affect The Body & What Triggers It?

Parotid tumors are an abnormal growth of cells formed in the parotid glands causing partial or permanent paralysis of the facial nerves, trouble swallowing & difficulty in opening the mouth, and chronic pain around the affected area.1

Most parotid tumors are non-cancerous and are resolved through appropriate treatment however 20% of the cases become malignant spreading to other parts of the body and affecting the salivary gland.2

Researchers are continuing to study to identify the exact cause of what is triggering this type of cancer. Clinical theories demonstrate that it doesn’t run in families and tends to develop as you age.3,4

How Does A Parotid Tumor Affect The Body?

Parotid tumors are an abnormal growth of cells formed in the parotid glands causing partial or permanent paralysis of the facial nerves, trouble swallowing & difficulty in opening the mouth, and chronic pain around the affected area.

Certain cases of salivary gland tumors have no symptoms at all. In the majority of cases, the parotid gland tumor produces a painless mass and it is a typical sign of this type of cancer. Well-defined parotid masses are examined with the help of fine-needle aspiration biopsy to help differentiate surgically treatable from nonsurgical pathologic disorders.1

Most parotid tumors are non-cancerous and are resolved through appropriate treatment however 20% of the cases become malignant spreading to other parts of the body and affecting the salivary gland.

Doctors diagnosis salivary gland tumor when patients experience the following symptoms:

  • Lumps/thick masses in the mouth or on the sides of the cheeks/jaw
  • Pain in the facial muscles
  • Fluid draining from the ears.
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Difficult in opening and closing your jaw.

There are many types of therapies to treat the salivary gland tumor however the local and systemic are regarded as the mainline of treatments. Surgery is referred to as local treatment which can remove the affected region of the parotid gland without affecting the rest of the body. However, surgery has risks and side effects so in some patients the doctors may suggest chemotherapy that can reach anywhere in the body without producing serious side effects.2

What Triggers A Parotid Tumor?

The parotid tumor can occur in any individual irrespective of age. However, older men have an increased risk of developing salivary gland tumors. Researchers are continuing to study to identify the exact cause of what is triggering this type of cancer. Clinical theories demonstrate that it doesn’t run in families and you tend to develop as you age.

There are certainly other factors that may contribute to this condition. They are:

  • Dehydration can lead to salivary gland infection resulting in acute parotitis
  • An unhealthy lifestyle with poor food intake that lowers the secretion of saliva
  • Overweight, high blood pressure, and certain medications can decrease saliva production and enhances the risk of getting this disease.3,4

Salivary gland cancer is a term used to refer to the cancerous tumor affecting the cheek/jaw and area above the ears. They can be both malignant and benign depending on the location of the tumor and extent of its spread.

Salivary gland tumors can affect any part of the salivary gland, (parotid, sub-mandibular, and sublingual glands), your prognosis will determine the type of cancer and stage of the disease.

References:

  1. “Parotid Tumor and Oral Health Effects: Colgate® Oral Care.” Parotid Tumor and Oral Health Effects | Colgate® Oral Care, www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/cancer/how-a-parotid-tumor-affects-oral-health-0416.
  2. “If You Have Salivary Gland Cancer.” American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org/cancer/salivary-gland-cancer/if-you-have-salivary-gland-cancer.html.
  3. “Salivary Gland Tumors.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 30 July 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parotid-tumor/cdc-20388269.
  4. “Parotid Tumors Treatment – Parotid Tumor Surgery: Salivary Gland Surgery Los Angeles CA.” Parotid Tumor Surgery | Salivary Gland Surgery Los Angeles CA, 12 June 2020, www.parotid.net/parotid-tumors/.

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