Salivary gland cancer
Cancer of the salivary glands is a rare and poorly understood type of malignant tumors. This pathology can equally affect both men and women over the age of 50. The exact reasons for the formation of a malignant tumor of the salivary gland have not yet been determined. It is believed that there is a high risk of falling into the category of such patients in those who abuse smoking, as well as if there is an injury to the salivary glands.
It is extremely rare that this type of cancer is observed in children and adolescents, and external factors play a major role in their development. The early period of cancer development is asymptomatic. Patients complain of dry mouth or excessive salivation. After a while, the tumor becomes noticeable, grows, it can protrude outward, deforming the cheek, or felt from the inside when the tongue touches the lower part of the mouth.
In the later stages, sensitivity is lost in the area of the lesion of the cheek, and pulling pains begin to torment, radiating to the ear and neck. Because of pain, malaise is often associated with otitis media and they do not rush to see a doctor for a consultation, which is why salivary gland cancer is often diagnosed late. ENT can confirm the diagnosis, in order to exclude another pathology, a number of studies are assigned. The patient undergoes a general blood test, a piece of the affected area is examined by a biopsy method. According to the histological conclusion, a treatment course is selected.
Unfortunately, if you see a doctor later, the operation becomes less effective. In this case, in addition to excision of the tumor, surgeons remove the affected gland and adjacent lymphatic vessels and prescribe radiation therapy. Chemotherapy for this type of cancer does not give positive improvements. If the diagnosis is made in the early stages, then with subsequent supportive radiation therapy. The prognosis of salivary gland cancer is poor, glandular tissue easily forms new cancer cells, therefore, there is a high frequency of relapses.
There is no generally accepted classification of tumors of the salivary glands, but they are divided into benign and malignant tumors.
- epithelial, these include polymorphic adenoma and monomorphic adenomas, such as adenolymphoma, oxyphilic adenoma.
- non-epithelial - hemangioma, fibroma, neuroma.
- localized tumors - acinous cell tumor.
- epithelial - adenocarcinoma, epidermoid carcinoma, undifferentiated carcinoma, adenocystic carcinoma, mucoepidermoid tumor.
- malignant tumors that have developed in a polymorphic adenoma.
- non-epithelial tumors - sarcoma.
- secondary metastatic tumors.
Malignant neoplasms of the parotid salivary glands grow slowly, due to the infiltrative nature, the facial nerve can grow, which leads to its paralysis or paresis. The tumor can grow into the lower jaw, into the oral cavity. In advanced stages, the skin of the lateral parts of the face is also attacked by cancer cells. Metastases can involve lymph nodes and blood vessels in the pathological process.
Mucoepidermoid tumor is more often found in women 40-60 years old. Malignant forms are manifested by pain, such tumors are immobile, have a fairly pronounced density. Sometimes after trauma ulcerate, fistulas and thick pus are formed, metastases occur.
Cylindroma and adenocystic carcinomas mainly affect the small salivary glands, and it happens that they are localized in the parotid gland. Found in men and women. Distinctive features are a bumpy surface, soreness, paresis or paralysis of the facial nerve, limitation of the mobility of the neoplasm. Metastases invade the lungs, bones of the skeleton. Relapses are possible.
Among the tumors developing in the salivary glands, it is worth highlighting carcinomas: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and undifferentiated cancer. The disease is found in women after 40 years. The development of the disease is rapid. The tumor is of dense consistency, painless, and has an irregular shape. At the beginning of development, the node is mobile and can be soldered to the skin. In the late period, pains join. Lesions of nearby muscles and bones are observed. Metastases spread to the lungs.
Sarcomas of the salivary glands are rare. The tumor forms in smooth and striated muscles, in the stroma of the salivary glands, in the vessels. The conclusion about the pathological process in the salivary gland is obtained with the help of complaints, history of the disease, visual examination, determination of the size and shape, structure, location, nature of pain. The accuracy of the diagnosis is confirmed by performing an X-ray, radioisotope, cytological and histological examination, biopsy.
Article author: Mochalov Pavel Alexandrovich | d. m. n. therapist
Education: Moscow Medical Institute. IM Sechenov, specialty - "General Medicine" in 1991, in 1993 "Occupational Diseases", in 1996 "Therapy".