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Coping with salivary gland cancer

Men and women discussing salivary gland cancer

This page has information about coping with salivary gland cancer. There is information about

 

A quick guide to what’s on this page

Coping with salivary gland cancer

It can be very difficult coping with a diagnosis of cancer, both practically and emotionally. At first, you are likely to feel very upset, frightened and confused. You may also have to come to terms with physical changes.

How cancer of the salivary gland affects you physically varies from person to person. It depends on which salivary gland is affected and the type of treatment you have. You may have changes to your appearance which can affect how you feel about yourself. Some people have changes to how they speak or how they eat and drink. This is usually temporary but for a few people it can be permanent.

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of cancer brings, you have to work out how to manage practically. There may be money matters to sort out. Who do you tell that you have cancer? There may be children to think about.

Changes can be difficult to cope with. Do ask for help if you need it. It is likely that your doctor or specialist head and neck cancer nurse will know who you can contact. They can put you in touch with people specially trained in supporting those with cancer. They are there to help and want you to feel supported. So use them if you feel you need to.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the Living with salivary gland cancer section.

 

 

Coping with a diagnosis of salivary gland cancer

It can be very difficult to cope with a diagnosis of cancer, both practically and emotionally. At first, you are likely to feel very upset, frightened and confused. Or that things are out of your control. It is very important to get the right information about the type of cancer you have and how it is best treated. People who are well informed about their illness and treatment are more able to make decisions and cope with what happens.

 

How salivary gland cancer can affect you physically

You may also have to come to terms with physical changes caused by your cancer and its treatment. This may include a change in your appearance. These changes vary depending on which salivary gland is affected and the treatment you have. There is more information about this on the page about coping with changes to your appearance.

You may also have changes to how you eat and drink. This is usually temporary but can be difficult to cope with at the time. There is detailed information about changes to eating and drinking in this section.

If you have surgery to remove a cancer in your parotid gland you may have some numbness around your ear. This is usually temporary, but for a few people it can be permanent. It is caused by damage to the nerves in the area.

 

Managing practically

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of cancer brings, you have to work out how to manage practically. There may be money matters to sort out. Your job or career may be affected. Who do you tell that you have cancer? And how do you find the words? You may also have children to think about.

Our coping with cancer section contains lots of information you may find helpful. There are sections about

 

Getting more help and information

Try to remember that you don’t have to sort everything out at once. It may take some time to deal with each issue. Do ask for help if you need it. Your doctor or specialist head and neck cancer nurse will know who you can contact to get some help. They can put you in touch with people specially trained in supporting those with cancer. These people are there to help and want you to feel supported. You can contact our cancer information nurses who would be happy to help.

You can contact one of the salivary gland cancer organisations.

There are also details of counselling organisations which can tell you more about counselling and help you find sources of emotional support in your area.

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Updated: 1 July 2014