Donate to Salivary Gland Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education

Our salivary glands produce saliva that help break down and digest food, lubricate the inside of the mouth and protect the mouth, throat, gums and tissue from infections. Salivary gland cancer develops in the cells surrounding and inside of the glands. Most cancerous cells identified in the salivary glands are noncancerous. A mere one in 100,000 adult in the United States will be diagnosed with salivary gland cancer, making it one of the rarest forms of cancer. When detected, the severity of these cancerous cells is divided into three distinct groups: Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 cancers. Thanks to your generous donations, the board-certified specialists at Northwestern Medicine are able to advance clinical trials and research to develop new diagnostic methods and treatment plans for salivary gland cancer.

Physicians at Northwestern Medicine have identified a host of risk factor associated with salivary gland cancer. Some of these risk factors can be controlled through lifestyle changes while others cannot. Risk factors include smoking or chewing tobacco, older age, gender (males are more susceptible to developing salivary gland cancer) diet and exposure to radiation and certain chemicals. Studies are still underway to determine the impact of cell phone use on developing salivary gland cancers.

Unfortunately, the exact causes of salivary gland cancers have not been identified; therefore, it is not yet possible to recommend strategies for prevention. Your contribution supporting research and clinical trials at Northwestern Medicine will advance efforts to identify strategies to prevent the onset of salivary gland cancers.

Physicians at Northwestern Medicine are able to identify symptoms most often associated with salivary gland cancers. These can include a lump or swelling around the jaw, neck, cheek or mouth and persistent pain in these areas. Additionally, inflammation or numbness on one side of the face, fluid draining from an ear and difficulty swallowing are commonly observed in patients with salivary gland cancer. While these symptoms alone do not necessarily indicate the presence of salivary gland cancer, it is strongly recommended to seek a full medical examination by your physician to rule it out. There are a multitude of testing options available to physicians at Northwestern Medicine for diagnosing salivary gland cancer when these symptoms are present. After a thorough evaluation of your medical history and family history, specialists will order a combination of imaging tests and biopsies to confirm any diagnosis. Depending on the grade level (1,2,3) of salivary cancer, physicians may prescribe a combination of treatments that can include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Salivary Gland Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education

Please consider making a gift to Northwestern Memorial Foundation to advance the diagnosis and treatment options available to patients diagnosed with salivary gland cancer. Your contribution advanced crucial research, shedding light on this little-understood cancer. With your help, scientists at Northwestern Medicine can continue their tireless efforts to learn more about salivary gland cancer.

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