Last Updated on Nov 27, 2014

Causes and Types

The exact cause of most salivary gland cancers is not known. Risk factors that increase the chance of getting salivary gland cancer include:

  • Older age
  • Exposure to certain types of radiation. Treatment with radiation therapy to the head and neck can increase one’s risk. Exposure to certain substances while at work may also raise the risk of acquiring cancer.

The World Health Organization has classified salivary gland cancers in detail. For the sake of simplicity, know that salivary gland cancers can be benign or malignant. The most common type of benign tumor is called a pleomorphic adenoma (mixed tumor).

Benign tumors are not dangerous to health unlike the malignant ones.


  1. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery, 18th Ed.
  2. Schwartz Manual of Surgery, 8th Ed.
  3. Mayo Clinic
  4. National Cancer Institute

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