On May 4, 2012, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch died of salivary gland cancer after fighting the battle since 2009. The nation took the loss hard, especially those who had grown up listening to the Beastie Boys since their inception in the late ‘70’s and perhaps had checked out their earlier band, the Young Aborigines. Adam Yauch suffered through this rare cancer for three years, causing many others to wonder whether they could also be at risk for developing salivary gland cancer during their lifetimes.
Signs That You May Have Salivary Gland Cancer
The salivary glands are responsible for releasing saliva into your mouth, allowing early breakdown of any food particles that you are ingesting. There are three major pairs of salivary glands in the mouth, accompanied by hundreds of microscopic glands that assist in food breakdown and releasing antibodies to prevent infection.
Though salivary gland cancer is quite rare, only making up about 3 diagnoses out of every 100,000, the cancer itself can be extremely deadly, especially as many of the symptoms are not painful or noticeable. According to the National Cancer Institute, a large sign of this type of cancer is a lump residing around the ear, jaw, cheek, lip, or inside of the mouth; areas that can be checked by a dental professional for better confirmation. Other signs of salivary gland cancer include fluid draining from the ear, trouble swallowing, and numbness or pain in the face. Though many of these signs could be attributed to other health concerns, such as TMJ disorder, it is important to check with your Colorado Springs dentist to find out the true cause of your symptoms.
It is not well known how salivary gland cancer develops; however, according to the National Cancer Institute, exposure to certain types of radiation may increase the risk for developing salivary gland cancer, along with factors such as age and exposure to substances while working.
Seek Help From a Dental Professional
If you are experiencing some of the known signs of salivary gland cancer, such as a lump in the mouth or pain in the face, call or email Dr. Hall at his dental office in Colorado Springs today to schedule a screening.