Salivary gland
cancer

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If salivary gland cancer spreads

Cancer cells can spread from the salivary gland to other parts of the body and develop into a new tumour. The new tumour is called a metastasis or secondary tumour. If more than one tumour develops in another part of the body, they are called metastases.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. If salivary gland cancer spreads, it is most likely to spread to the following:

  • lymph nodes in the neck (the most common place where salivary gland cancer spreads)
  • into and along the nerves in the face and neck (perineural invasion)
  • soft tissues in the face and neck, including nerves and blood vessels
  • lungs
  • brain
  • bones

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Great progress has been made

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Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.

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