Treatments for stage 2 salivary gland cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 2 salivary gland cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Surgery

Surgery is the standard treatment for stage 2 salivary gland cancer. The type of surgery will depend on where the tumour is found.

Superficial parotidectomy is used to treat a tumour in the superficial lobe of a parotid gland. The superficial lobe is the part of the parotid gland that is closest to the front of the neck.

Total parotidectomy is used to treat a tumour in the deep lobe of a parotid gland.

Sialoadenectomy is used to treat tumours in the salivary glands in the lower jaw or under the tongue.

Wide local excision is used to treat tumours in the minor salivary glands.

Reconstructive surgery may be needed after surgery for stage 2 salivary gland cancer. This may include skin, tissue and nerve grafts.

Radiation therapy

External radiation therapy is given after surgery if:

  • there are cancer cells in the tissue that was removed along with the tumour (positive margins)
  • the cancer is high-grade
  • the cancer has spread to the space around a nerve (perineural invasion)

External radiation may be offered instead of surgery for stage 2 salivary gland cancer if surgery to remove the tumour would cause a major change in your appearance or make it difficult for you to talk or eat. It may also be used if you aren't healthy enough to have surgery or if you don't want to have surgery.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is the most common type of external radiation therapy used to treat stage 2 salivary gland cancer.

Clinical trials

Talk to your doctor about clinical trials open to people with salivary gland cancer in Canada. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society. Treatment options by stage of salivary gland cancer. 2017.
  • 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.
  • National Cancer Institute. Salivary Gland Cancer Treatment (Adult) (PDQ®) Health Professional Version. 2018.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • National Cancer Institute. Salivary Gland Cancer Treatment (Adult) (PDQ®) Patient Version. 2018.
  • National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Head and Neck Cancers Version 2.2018. 2018.