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Salivary Gland Cancer

There are salivary glands, which produce the saliva needed to moisten mouth and help break down food, clustered in several places in the head and neck. The major glands are the parotid, submandibular and sublingual. Salivary glands also are found in the windpipe and the tissue lining the upper digestive tract.

Eighty percent of tumors develop in the parotid gland and 50 percent of tumors in the submandibular gland are benign. Sublingual gland tumors are nearly always malignant. It is possible for skin cancers to spread to the salivary glands or the lymph nodes near those glands.