Salivary gland
cancer

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Treatments for stage 4 salivary gland cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 4 salivary gland cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan. Treatments are used to relieve symptoms such as pain (called palliative therapy).

Radiation therapy

You may be offered external beam radiation therapy for stage 4 salivary gland cancer. It can be used to shrink cancer that is in the salivary gland and lymph nodes in the neck.

Radiation therapy is sometimes used to treat salivary gland cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Find out more about treatments for bone metastases and lung metastases.

Surgery

Surgery may be offered for stage 4A salivary gland cancer. It can be used if the cancer has not spread to distant organs. It is offered if surgery won’t cause problems with talking or eating or changes to your appearance.

The surgeon may do either a total parotidectomy or sialoadenectomy. Neck dissection to remove lymph nodes in the neck is usually done with these surgeries.

Chemoradiation

Chemoradiation may be offered for stage 4 salivary gland cancer. Chemoradiation is treatment that combines chemotherapy with radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is given during the same time period as radiation therapy. Some types of chemotherapy make radiation therapy more effective.

Clinical trials

You may be asked if you want to join a clinical trial for salivary gland cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

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