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Salivary gland
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Treatments for stage I salivary gland cancer

The following are treatment options for stage I salivary gland cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Surgery

Surgery is the standard treatment for stage I salivary gland cancer. The type of surgery you have will depend on where the salivary gland tumour is found.

Superficial parotidectomy removes part of a parotid gland. It is used to treat a tumour in the superficial lobe of a parotid gland.

Total parotidectomy removes all of a parotid gland. It is used to treat a tumour in the deep lobe of a parotid gland.

Sialoadenectomy removes a salivary gland. It is used to treat tumours in the submandible and sublingual salivary glands.

Wide local excision removes the tumour along with a margin of tissue around it. This surgery is used to treat tumours in the minor salivary glands.

Radiation therapy

Low-grade stage I salivary gland tumours may be treated with external beam radiation therapy after surgery if there are positive surgical margins. This means that there are cancer cells in the edges of the tissue removed along with the tumour.

High-grade stage I salivary gland tumours may be treated with external beam radiation therapy after surgery. Radiation therapy is given if the cancer has grown into and along the nerves of the face (called perineural invasion, or PNI) or outside of the salivary gland. Radiation therapy is also used if there are cancer cells in the edges of the tissue removed along with the tumour during surgery.

External beam radiation may be offered instead of surgery for stage I salivary gland tumours if surgery to remove the tumour would cause a major change in your appearance or make it difficult for you to talk or eat. It may also be used instead of surgery if you aren’t healthy enough to have surgery or if you don’t want to have surgery.

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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