Treatments for salivary gland cancer

If you have salivary gland cancer, your healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your health and specific information about the cancer. When deciding which treatments to offer for salivary gland cancer, your healthcare team will consider

  • the stage of the cancer
  • the grade of the cancer

  • which salivary gland the cancer is in

  • your overall health

  • your preferences for treatment

You may be offered one or more of the following treatments for salivary gland cancer.

Expert review and references

  • Locati LD, Guzzo M, Orlandi E, Licitra L . Management of salivary gland cancer. Bernier J (ed.). Head and Neck Cancer: Multimodality Management. Springer; 2016: 36:625-640.
  • National Cancer Institute. Salivary Gland Cancer Treatment (Adult) (PDQ®) Health Professional Version. 2018.
  • Deschler DG, Emerick KS, Wirth LJ, Busse PM . Management of salivary gland tumors: general principles and management. Harrison LB, Sessions RB, Kies MS (eds.). Head and Neck Cancer: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2014: 25(A): 697-724.

Treatments for stage 1 salivary gland cancer

The main treatment for stage 1 salivary gland cancer is surgery. Learn about treatment options for stage 1 salivary gland cancer.

Treatments for stage 2 salivary gland cancer

Stage 2 salivary gland cancer is treated with surgery and radiation therapy. Learn about treatment options for stage 2 salivary gland cancer.

Treatment of stage 3 salivary gland cancer

Treatment for stage 3 salivary gland cancer depends upon the grade of the cancer. Learn about the treatment options for stage 3 salivary gland tumours.

Treatments for stage 4 salivary gland cancer

Radiation therapy is the main treatment for stage 4 salivary gland cancer. Learn about treatment options for stage 4 salivary gland cancer.

Treatments for recurrent salivary gland cancer

There are no standard treatment options for recurrent salivary gland cancer. Treatments that may be offered include radiation therapy and surgery. Chemotherapy is offered in rare cases.

Surgery for salivary gland cancer

Most people with salivary gland cancer will have surgery to remove all or part of a salivary gland. Learn about the surgeries for salivary tumours.

Radiation therapy for salivary gland cancer

Most people with salivary gland cancer will have radiation therapy, alone or with other treatments. Learn about radiation therapy for salivary tumours.

Chemotherapy for salivary gland cancer

Chemotherapy is rarely used to treat salivary gland cancer, but may be offered with radiation therapy. Learn when chemotherapy may be given.

Targeted therapy for salivary gland cancer

Targeted therapy uses drugs to target specific molecules on cancer cells. Salivary gland cancer is sometimes treated with targeted therapy.

Follow-up after treatment for salivary gland cancer

Follow-up after salivary gland cancer may be shared by your doctor and dentist. Learn about regular appointments and tests that may be done.