Acinic cell adenocarcinoma of the parotid gland
The parotid glands are the largest of the salivary glands (the glands which make saliva). They are close to the jawbone, just in front of the ear, one on the right and one on the left.
Most parotid tumours are benign – the cells that make up the lump are not cancer cells. Only about 1 in 4 parotid lumps are cancer (25%).
Many different types of cancer can develop in the parotid. Most are adenocarcinoma. Acinic cell cancer only makes up about one in a hundred (1%) of the parotid cancers. So you can see this type of cancer is very rare.
Acinic cell cancer grows quite slowly. It is usually possible to operate to remove it. If the cancer is advanced when it is found, it may not be possible to completely remove it as there are some important nerves very close to the parotid. The nerves could become damaged during the surgery.
You may be offered radiotherapy after your surgery. This is given to reduce the possibility of the cancer coming back in the same area. These cancers do not often spread to other parts of the body. They can sometimes spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. But most people with this type of cancer are cured. Two thirds are alive and well 10 years later.
Lots of people say it helps to talk to others who know what they are going through. If you are seeing a specialist in head and neck cancer, ask them if they can put you in touch with any other patients. That way, they may be near by. But with rare cancers, it is hard to find people with the same condition. There is information about salivary gland cancer on this website. Or the Mouth Cancer Foundation website has information and a forum.
Check out Cancer Chat – Cancer Research UK's discussion forum. It is a place for anyone affected by cancer to share experiences, stories and information with other people who know what you are going through.
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