Head & Neck Tumors

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Symptoms of head and neck tumors vary, but may include:

  • Lump in the neck
  • Hoarseness or other change in the voice
  • Growth in the mouth
  • Blood in saliva
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Earache
  • New or changed growths on skin

Initial evaluation involves a careful history of symptoms and examination. Your Desert ENT physician will often do a fiberoptic exam of the throat to look for abnormalities. Sometimes imaging studies such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI may be helpful. If a tumor is found, a biopsy will be done to determine if it is benign or cancerous. 

Head And Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancers encompass several different diseases that can affect the mouth, nose, throat and other surrounding areas. Most cancers of the head and neck begin in the lining of moist, mucosal surfaces such as the mouth, nose and throat. The cells in the lining are known as squamous cells, and may therefore be affected by squamous cell carcinomas. Cancer can spread to local lymph nodes in the neck or other areas of the body and lead to serious complications. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is essential in effective treatment. Once cancer has been diagnosed, it is important to determine the stage of the disease and whether or not it has spread to other areas of the body. Staging usually involves imaging procedures, including PET CT scan.


Treatment for head and neck cancer depends on the type and location of the tumor, as well as the patient’s age and overall health. Treatment may include surgery to remove the cancer, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy. Your Desert ENT physician will often work with your medical oncologist and radiation oncologist to determine the best treatment. These cancers can be dangerous, but cure rates are very good, depending on the type and stage of the disease.

Salivary Gland Surgery

The submandibular salivary glands (under the jaw) or the parotid salivary glands (in front of the ears) can form tumors. These are mostly benign but occasionally cancerous. Evaluation is often done with ultrasound and needle biopsies. Benign tumors are sometimes followed conservatively. Cancerous or symptomatic tumors require surgery. 

Submandibular gland excision is performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient and takes about one hour. Parotid gland surgery is more extensive and can take over 3 hours since this requires careful protection of the facial nerve branches. Most patients can go home the same day. 

Some patients develop recurring salivary gland infections due to stones forming in their ducts. Surgical removal of the stones can often effectively treat this problem. Removal of the salivary glands is rarely necessary for infections.

Desert Ear, Nose & Throat


71687 Highway 111 Suite 101,
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270


8:30 am - 4:30 pm


8:30 am - 4:30 pm


8:30 am - 4:30 pm


8:30 am - 4:30 pm


8:30 am - 4:30 pm