ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Q&A About Parotid Gland Cancer

Parotid gland cancer accounts for majority –about 85% – of all cases of salivary gland tumors.  Emphasis must be made, furthermore, that not all parotid tumors are malignant – only about 25% are cancerous. As a type of salivary gland tumor, parotid gland cancer is rare.



Where Does It Occur?

The salivary glands produce saliva, an essential substance in the digestive process as well as in supporting good oral health and in keeping the mouth moist. These are classified into three major types located under and behind the jaw – sublingual, submandibular, and parotid. There are also small salivary glands in other parts of the mouth and throat.



The parotid glands are the largest of these three major types of salivary glands. These are located in front of the ears, one on each side of the head.



What Should You Be Aware Of?


Parotid tumors cause multiple symptoms including:


  • Lump on or near your jaw
  • Lump in your mouth or neck
  • Persistent pain in the area
  • Burning or tingling sensation
  • Muscle weakness on one side of your face
  • Numbness on one part of your face
  • Loss of facial movement
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Difficulty in opening your mouth widely



The mass in your mouth, jaw, or neck may or may not be painful but it’s important to have it checked by your ENT doctor regardless. With a malignant parotid tumor, the facial nerves are also affected resulting in the pain, muscle weakness, and loss of facial movement.



We must emphasize, however, that a mass or lump near your salivary gland doesn’t mean that it’s cancerous. There are many non-cancerous medical conditions that can cause swelling in the salivary glands, such as a stone in their ducts or an infection in the glands.



Who Is At High Risk?

Risk factors refer to the conditions that can increase the risk of developing a certain disease or disorder. But take note that having one or more risk factor doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop the illness – there are many factors that come into play in disease and disorder development.



The risk factors for parotid gland cancer are:


  • Older age with most patients being older adults; salivary gland tumors, however, can happen at any age
  • Radiation exposure, an ironic thing considering that radiation therapy is used in the treatment of head and neck cancers
  • Exposure to certain substances in the workplace, such as asbestos and rubber used in mining, plumbing and manufacturing



If your ENT doctor suspects parotid gland cancer, you will undergo several diagnostic exams. These usually include a thorough physical exam to check for lumps in your jaw, neck and throat, a biopsy to determine whether it’s malignant or benign, and imaging tests like MRI and CT scan.



Parotid gland cancer is treatable with the treatment options including parotidectomy, a surgical operation to remove the parotid gland either partially or completely, and radiotherapy. Chemotherapy hasn’t been proven effective in its treatment.



HK ENT Specialist Ltd. is a Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre offering ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy, Sleep Disordered Breathing Management, Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services. If you have ENT problem, it is suggested to call us to make an appointment for the appropriate ENT services.




HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services


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