Salivary Gland Cancer (cont.)
In this Article
- Salivary gland cancer facts*
- What is salivary gland cancer?
- What increases the risk of salivary gland cancer?
- What are symptoms and signs of salivary gland cancer?
- What exams and tests are used to detect and diagnose salivary gland cancer?
- What is the prognosis for salivary gland cancer?
- What tests are done to determine if salivary gland cancer has spread?
- How does salivary gland cancer spread in the body?
- What are the stages for salivary gland cancer?
- What is the treatment for salivary gland cancer?
- How does staging affect treatment options?
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
What is the prognosis for salivary gland cancer?
The treatment options and prognosis (chance of recovery) depend on the following:
- The stage of the cancer (especially the size of the tumor).
- The type of salivary gland the cancer is in.
- The type of cancer cells (how they look under a microscope).
- The patient's age and general health.
What tests are done to determine if salivary gland cancer has spread?
The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the salivary glands or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. The following procedures may be used in the staging process:
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
- CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
How does salivary gland cancer spread in the body?
The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:
- Through tissue. Cancer invades the surrounding normal tissue.
- Through the lymph system. Cancer invades the lymph system and travels through the lymph vessels to other places in the body.
- Through the blood. Cancer invades the veins and capillaries and travels through the blood to other places in the body.
When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.
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