iCliniq logo

Ask a Doctor Online Now

HomeHealth articlesparotid gland tumorParotid Gland Tumor

Parotid Gland Tumor

Verified dataVerified data
Parotid Gland Tumor

4 min read


Parotid gland tumors can cause chewing and swallowing problems. Read this article to know more.

Written by

Dr. Lochana .k

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At February 26, 2022
Reviewed AtDecember 23, 2022

What Is Parotid Gland?

The parotid gland is one of the major salivary glands present in humans. Generally, there are two types of salivary glands. They are categorized as major and minor glands. This parotid gland is present on both sides of the mouth. In total they are two in number, and it is exactly located in the front of the ears. Out of all the salivary glands, the parotid gland is anatomically large when compared to others. Each parotid gland is provided with a duct called parotid duct. The parotid gland plays an important role in draining the secretions into the oral cavity with the help of the parotid duct. This secretion primarily includes saliva. The parotid gland is provided with nerve supply, blood supply, and lymphatic drainage.

What Is a Parotid Gland Tumor?

There are several health problems associated with the parotid gland. One of the serious problems in the parotid gland is a cancerous condition called parotid gland tumors. The occurrence of tumors in the parotid gland can be either benign or malignant. Parotid gland tumors include any abnormal development of cells in the parotid gland. The vital functions of the parotid gland are drastically reduced in the case of tumors. Out of all the salivary gland tumors, a tumor in the parotid gland is very common. This tumor most commonly reduces the swelling that is prominently noticeable in the face. This might be accompanied by several abnormal symptoms. The treatment for parotid gland tumors focuses on surgical methods.

What Are the Causes of Parotid Gland Tumors?

Genetic mutation is the main cause of the occurrence of parotid gland tumors. A familial history can also lead to parotid gland tumors. In some patients, exposure to chemical carcinogens can also be the cause.

What Are the Symptoms of Parotid Gland Tumors?

The symptoms for parotid gland tumors include the following;

  • Drainage of fluid from the ears.

  • Weakness or numbness in the face.

  • Prolonged pain in the swelling region.

  • Presence of lump in the cheek, ear, lip, jaw, and internal parts of the mouth.

  • Difficulty in opening the mouth.

  • Difficulty in chewing and swallowing food.

What Are the Risk Factors of Parotid Gland Tumors?

Risk factors help in refraining from certain habits. It also serves as an awareness zone so that the person who is affected by that particular cancer will be more cautious. The risk factor is only a general observation, and it does not necessarily mean that it will contribute a risky element for sure. The various possible risk factors associated with parotid gland tumors are:

  • Male Gender: There is a common identification in medical researchers that women are more prone to problems in the salivary glands. In act, several normal physiological changes in the women are known to reduce the salivary flow from the parotid gland after the women reach menopause age. But, this general rule is not applicable for salivary gland tumors. Men are affected more by this condition when compared to women.

  • Older People: Irrespective of the gender, both males and females who belong to the older age, are at higher risk of parotid gland tumors. This might specifically include individuals more than 50 years of age.

  • Family History: If a particular member has a parotid gland tumor in the family, then they are usually having a possibility of transmitting the condition to their upcoming generations. The patients who are suspected of having a parotid gland tumor should be thoroughly estimated for family history.

  • Exposure to Radiation: Patients who have received radiotherapy treatment for the medical conditions for the head and neck region might greatly increase the risk for any type of salivary gland tumor. Since the parotid gland is large and superficial, there is an increased risk for the occurrence of tumors in the parotid gland. This might also include abnormal and excessive exposures to radioactive materials.

  • Consumption of Alcohol: Consumption of alcohol can serve as a minor contributing factor for parotid gland tumors.

  • Usage of Tobacco: Tobacco has an elevated risk of parotid gland tumor when compared to alcohol consumption. Alcohol can affect the internal organs more, whereas cigarettes can directly influence the cells and tissues present in and around the oral cavity.

  • Usage of Mobile Phones: Recent medical reports suggest that people who engage in the usage of mobile phones for a long time suffer at a higher level of risk. Most of the parotid gland tumors that are caused by cell phone exposure were only benign and not malignant.

  • Food Patterns: A food pattern that is very low in consumption of vegetables and rich in animal fat might serve as a risk factor for parotid gland tumors. As much evidence does not support this fact, several other types of research are required to understand the correlation between parotid gland tumors and the diet.

How Are Parotid Gland Tumors Diagnosed?

The diagnosis for tumors in the parotid gland might include the following.

  • Clinical Examination: The doctor will perform a clinical examination to check the presence of any swelling or lump in the throat and neck region. The jaws will also be thoroughly diagnosed.

  • Imaging Techniques: Based on the size and nature of the tumor, the doctor will recommend the patient to go for imaging techniques like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan, Computed Tomography (CT) scan, and ultrasound.

  • Biopsy: Biopsy is a procedure that involves the collection of a sample tissue for the purpose of testing the cells present in the tumor. A core needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration might be suggested by the doctor.

What Are the Treatment Options for the Parotid Gland?

Based on the diagnosis report, the doctor will suggest a treatment plan for parotid gland tumors. The most successful treatment option for parotid gland tumors is surgery. The different treatment options are described below.

  • Superficial Parotidectomy: This is a surgical method in which a part of the parotid gland is removed. In addition to this, certain healthy tissues surrounded by the parotid gland will also be surgically removed.

  • Total Parotidectomy: Total parotidectomy is a surgical method in which the surgeon will completely remove the parotid gland. This method is suitable only for very large tumors. The doctor will also recommend this procedure if weaker parts of the tissues are involved.

  • Extensive Surgery: If the parotid gland has involved surrounding muscles and bones, an extensive surgical operation is required.

Other treatment options might include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and targeted drug therapy are recommended.

What Are the Other Types of Salivary Gland Tumors?

It is very important to understand a little about other salivary gland tumors because there is a chance for misinterpretation or misdiagnosis. The other types of salivary gland tumors are listed below:

  • Clear cell carcinoma.

  • Basal cell adenocarcinoma.

  • Sebaceous adenocarcinoma.

  • Cystadenocarcinoma.

  • Metastasizing mixed tumors.

  • Mucinous adenocarcinoma

  • Sebaceous lymph adenocarcinoma.

  • Carcinosarcoma.

  • Carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma.

For more help, contact icliniq.com.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is a Parotid Gland Tumor a Serious Condition?

Most parotid gland tumors are benign or non-cancerous. However, a few parotid tumors are cancerous. Hence, it is important to visit a doctor as soon as a parotid gland tumor is suspected. Early diagnosis can help to prevent the tumor from turning malignant.


Can Parotid Gland Tumor Be Cured?

Most parotid tumors are curable if diagnosed at an early stage. The doctor may analyze the cause of the tumor and prescribe medications accordingly. In case of malignant tumors, the treatment plan may involve radiation and chemotherapy to kill the cancerous cells.


Which Is the Common Parotid Gland Tumor?

Pleomorphic adenoma is the most common salivary gland tumor of the parotid gland. The tumor exhibits overgrowth of cancerous cells. It is a slow-growing tumor. Almost 80 percent of salivary gland tumors occur in the parotid gland. It is the largest of the three major salivary glands.


How Do People Get Parotid Gland Tumor?

The exact cause of most parotid gland tumors is yet to be known. However, according to the research conducted, smoking is one of the leading causes of parotid tumors. Sometimes, skin cancer may spread to the parotid gland, causing a salivary gland tumor.


Is Parotid Gland Surgery Serious?

The surgery for the parotid gland is called parotidectomy. It is a major surgery and a reliable treatment to prevent the recurrence of parotid tumors. The surgery may occasionally affect the surrounding blood vessels and nerves, resulting in complications. Most commonly, the facial nerve is injured.


How Quick Does Parotid Tumor Grow and Spread?

Metastatic parotid tumors spread quickly within the gland and are very unpredictable. The tumor growth usually varies with each individual, depending on the causes of the tumor and the aggravating factors. Despite multiple modes of treatment, the recurrence and progression of the tumor tends to be high.


Who Treats Parotid Gland Tumor?

Most parotid tumors are treated by dentists or specialists like oral and maxillofacial surgeons. They thoroughly diagnose the tumor and calculate the size and extent of the tumor. Depending on those calculations, either surgery or medications are suggested.


What Is the Time Duration to Remove Parotid Tumor?

The removal of the tumor varies from person to person. While removing the tumor, the surrounding structures are taken into consideration to preserve the healthy tissues as much as possible. The exact time taken for the surgery cannot be predicted. Post surgery, there may be a few follow-up sessions for recovery.


Which Tumor Is Commonly Mistaken for Parotid Tumor?

Very rarely, a parotid tumor is misdiagnosed. Most parotid tumors exhibit classic traits of the cancerous cells, which makes it easy to arrive at a diagnosis. Very rarely, the tumor is confused as a cyst or a skin tumor. It may also be confused as a lymph node enlargement.


Does Parotid Tumor Disappear?

Very rarely, parotid tumors disappear on their own. Most parotid tumors have to be properly diagnosed and treated. Undiagnosed tumors may result in complications of the parotid gland. Recurrent parotid tumors have to be carefully managed to prevent damage to the surrounding cells.


Is a Parotid Gland Biopsy Painful?

A biopsy is a procedure to remove a sample of abnormal tissues and to examine them carefully for any malignant changes. It is done under local anesthesia and a numbing agent. Patients may feel a stinging sensation for some time. However, it does not last for more than two minutes.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Lochana .k
Dr. Lochana .k



parotid gland tumor
Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Ask your health query to a doctor online


*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy