Symptoms of salivary gland cancer

The signs or symptoms of salivary gland cancer may vary depending on where the tumour is growing. Non-cancerous salivary gland tumours and other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as salivary gland cancer.

The most common sign of salivary gland cancer is a painless lump in your jaw, cheek, mouth or neck. Other signs and symptoms of salivary gland cancer include:

  • pain in your mouth, ear, jaw, throat or neck that doesn't go away
  • trouble opening your mouth widely (called trismus)

  • numbness (lack of feeling) in part of your face

  • drooping or weakness of the muscles on one side of your face

  • twitching of muscles on your face

  • problems swallowing and drooling

  • tearing in one eye

  • problems closing an eye

  • blood in your saliva

  • changes to your voice

  • stuffy nose

  • changes to the skin over a lump on the jaw, cheek, mouth or neck

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society. Signs and symptoms of salivary gland cancer. 2017.
  • Tuluc M, Bar-Ad V, Cognetti D, Johnson J, Axelrod R . Uncommon tumors of the oral cavity and adjacent structures. Raghavan D, et al (eds.). Textbook of Uncommon Cancer. 5th ed. Wiley Blackwell; 2017: 10:134–151.
  • National Cancer Institute. Salivary Gland Cancer Treatment (Adult) (PDQ®) Patient Version. 2018.