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The use of high-energy radiation to kill or shrink cancer cells, tumors, and non-cancerous diseases.
Radiation therapy is also a common treatment of cancer of the salivary gland. Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external radiation therapy) or from putting materials that produce radiation (radioisotopes) through thin plastic tubes in the area where the cancer cells are found (internal radiation therapy).
Specialized types of radiation have been shown to be effective in treating some salivary glands tumors. Fast-neutron beam radiation is a type of radiation therapy that uses tiny particles called neutrons. Photon-beam radiation therapy reaches deep tumors with high-energy light. Along with radiation therapy, the use of drugs to make cancer cells more sensitive to radiation (radiosensitization) is being tested in clinical trials.
Postoperative radiation therapy, using IMRT (where computers assist in planning the radiation so as to minimize injury to other areas) is a mainstay of treatment high grade salivary gland cancer.
In conjunction with the Biodesign Department, we are developing a device to mitigate the dry mouth associated with irradiation.
Minor salivary gland operations (in the oral cavity)
Lower lip biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of Sjogren's syndrome
Transoral and transcervical approaches to a ranula
Surgical removal of the parotid gland due to cancer or tumors. Includes parotidectomy for benign parotid salivary neoplasms, traditional parotidectomy, and minimally-invasive retrograde parotidectomy.
A diagnostic and therapeutic modality to remove salivary stones, dilate strictures caused by radioactive iodine, and manage chronic reactive sialadenitis.
Surgery is usually necessary and often used to remove cancers of the salivary gland. Depending on where the cancer is and how far it has spread, a doctor may need to cut out tissue around the cancer.
If cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the neck, the lymph nodes may be removed (lymph node dissection).
When the parotid gland is the site of the tumor, electrophysiologic monitoring of the facial nerve is usually used to help prevent injury to this nerve.
When, rarely, the facial nerve must be removed because it is involved with cancer, the nerve is genereally reconstructed with a nerve graft. Other supplementary methods such as a gold weight implant of the upper eyelid and tightening the lower eyelid may be used as part of rehabilitation.
Because the salivary glands help digest food and are close to the jaw, a patient may need special help adjusting to the side effects of the cancer and its treatment. A doctor will consult with several kinds of doctors who can help determine the best treatment. Trained medical staff can also help in recovery from treatment. Plastic surgery may be needed if a large amount of tissue or bone around the salivary glands is taken out.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.