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Salivary gland cancer

Salivary gland cancer is a heterogenous group of tumors in terms of histopathology. Different types of adenocarcinomas are the main group, and malignant tumors originate most often from the parotid gland. 

The salivary glands include the:

  1. parotid gland
  2. submandibular gland
  3. sublingual gland

The salivary glands also include numerous small glands in the oral cavity and nasal mucosa.

Treatment for salivary gland cancer and the patient's sequelae of the treatment will have great consequences for the patient's appearance. The extent of the changes depends on the localization and stage of the tumor. In order to reduce the burdens the treatment can cause, thorough information and follow-up is critical (2).


Cancer of the salivary glands constituted 6% of the total number of newly diagnosed head and neck cancers in Norway.  48 new cases of salivary gland cancer were registered in 2013. (1).

The average age at diagnosis is around 60 years, and the disease affects more men than women.


Age-specific incidence of cancer of the salivary glands, 2009–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway



Incidence of cancer of the salivary glands, 1954–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

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