Submandibular gland adenoma

Salivary glands make saliva – the lubricating fluid found in the mouth and throat. Saliva contains enzymes that begin the process of digesting food. It also contains antibodies and other substances that help prevent infections of the mouth and throat. The 2 main types of salivary glands are the major salivary glands and minor salivary glands.

There are 3 sets of major salivary glands on each side of the face:


  • The parotid glands, the largest salivary glands, are just in front of the ears. About 7 out of 10 salivary gland tumors start here. Most of these tumors are benign (not cancer), but the parotid glands still are where most malignant (cancerous) salivary gland tumors start.

  • The submandibular glands are smaller and are below the jaw. They secrete saliva under the tongue. About 1 or 2 out of 10 tumors start in these glands, and about half of these tumors are cancer.

  • The sublingual glands, which are the smallest, are under the floor of the mouth and below either side of the tongue. Tumors starting in these glands are rare.

Most salivary gland tumors are benign – that is, they are not cancer and will not spread to other parts of the body. These tumors are almost never life threatening. Benign tumors are almost always cured by surgery. Very rarely, they may become cancer if left untreated for a long time or if they are not completely removed by non professional oncology surgeon.