Salivary Glands become affected with intrusion of tumors. Almost 85% of Salivary Gland tumors belong to parotid tumors. It will be safe to refer that most such tumors are not cancerous. But the disaster lays in the fact that nearly 25 percent of malignant Salivary Gland tumors are seen to develop in parotid glands.
These tumors reveal consort of inbuilt features. Jaw area may have seen to sustain with mass or swelling which might or might not be painful. Parotid carcinoma has seen to affect facial nerves that cause pain, numbness, burning and prickling sensation or even slag movement in the face. There are various symptoms of this which can be confirmed by an oncologist.
- Appearance of a lump or swelling near jaw or neck and mouth
- The sudden weakness in the muscle side of face
- Swallowing may also be difficult
- Wide opening of the mouth be restrained.
Salivary gland cancer has some underlying reason. It is seen to occur when some cells in that gland develop mutations in the DNA. Rapid growth and division of cells are seen to occur. Most tragically, these cells often kill other active cells in the gland system. These accumulated cells form tumor that can invade nearby tissues. Malignant cells are spread after breaking off to distant areas of the body. A cancer specialist can only tell what the reason is in any particular case.
Stage of cancer is the most determinant factor when carcinoma parotid is treated. Such treatment also depends on the health situation of the patient as well as personal preferences. Various surgeries and radiation therapies are recommended.
This type of treatment may involve various stages:
- Removal of a portion of affected salivary gland: When the tumor is small in size and is located in an easily accessible spot, it is simply removed. Removal of a small portion of healthy tissues may also be performed to avoid infection
- Exclusion of entire Salivary Gland: When the tumor is large, the surgeon may suggest the removal of entire gland. When the tumor is extended to nearby structures like facial nerves – ducts connected to salivary glands, facial bones and skin may also be removed.
- Reconstructive Surgery: When removal of bones, skin and nerves are performed during the surgery, the best surgical oncologist may opt for reconstructive surgery. The purpose of this surgery is to improve the ability to chew, swallow, speak and breathe. Grafting with tissues and nerves from other parts of the body constitutes the performances of this kind of surgery. This type of surgery is mainly recommended for rebuild areas in mouth, throat and jaw areas.
High-powered energy beams like X-rays and protons are used in Radiation Therapy. These rays are highly effective in killing cancer cells. Salivary cancers are now better treated with radiation therapy by use of neutrons. Such therapy can alternatively be used after surgery when some cells still remain even after surgery. If the tumor can’t be operated due to large size or isolated position, radiation serves as the only available mean for removal of such tumor.
Cancer cells are destroyed through use of chemicals. This treatment is seldom used in treating Carcinoma Parotid. Method is seen to apply at advanced stages only. Another use is made in combination with radiation therapy.
Oncology is an ever evolving field of medicine and is matter of research and development. The author per say does not claim the following to be guidelines of practice in oncology. These are part of patient awareness initiative by Dr. Suvadip Chakrabarti MCh (Surgical Oncology) to educate people at large of various options in Oncology. It should not be taken to be practice guidelines.