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Salivary Gland Cancer Symptoms

Common signs of salivary gland cancer include the following:

A lump in your jaw, mouth, or neck

A lump in the jaw or mouth is the most common symptom of salivary gland cancer. Lumps can also form in the lips.

A lump in the neck may be caused by an enlarged lymph node. Swelling in one or more lymph nodes in the neck is a common symptom of salivary gland cancer, as well as other types of head and neck cancer, including mouth cancer.

Lumps that come and go are not usually due to cancer. Cancer usually forms a lump that slowly gets bigger.

Pain or weakness in your face

Pain or discomfort in your face that doesn’t go away is another common symptom of salivary gland cancer.

Difficulty moving your jaw

A tumor that involves the bones, muscles, or nerves of the jaw can make it difficult to open your mouth. Most people are able to open their mouth about the width of three fingers. If you are having trouble opening your mouth this wide, see your doctor. Chances are, you don’t have cancer, but this condition — also known as trismus — can lead to other serious health problems.

Difficulty swallowing

Cancer of the salivary glands can cause pain or a burning sensation when chewing and swallowing food. Or you might feel like food is sticking in your throat. You may also cough or feel like food or liquid is going into the airway (windpipe).