Salivary Cancer: Are You More Likely to Get an Unrelated Cancer?

salivary parotid spit

Background: Second primary cancers are common among patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, while the chances of getting a second primary cancer among patients with salivary gland tumors are not well-understood.

The Study: A retrospective case-control study at a university teaching hospital included 184 patients with salivary gland cancers, managed between 2000 and 2010. Follow-up was at least 2 years. These patients were compared to 200 healthy individuals who had routine medical examinations.

All had endoscopic and radiological exams a initial staging and in follow-up. Individuals suspected of having a salivary gland cancer or a newly developed cancer had biopsy.

Results: The cumulative 2-, 5-, and 10-year rates of second primary cancers were 4.4%, 8.3%, and 12.4%. The control populations rates were 1.1%, 3.4%, and 10.5%. These numbers were not statistically significant. Except for the thyroid cancer, all cancers were located outside of the head and neck region.

My Take: In the present (small) study, there was no statistical difference in the risk of second cancers for those with a history of salivary gland cancer. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

Reference: JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Dusrg 2013 Dec 26. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2013.6149

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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