What are the risk factors for salivary gland cancer?

A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of developing a disease. Having risk factors, however, does not necessarily mean you will get cancer, so it’s important to know your own personal risk factors and discuss any concerns with your doctor. 

Currently, specific salivary gland cancer risk factors are not known, although research is ongoing, but scientists believe they may be either environmental and/or genetic. 

Possible risk factors include:

  • Older age
  • Prior treatment with radiation therapy to the head or neck 
  • Exposure to cancer causing substances (carcinogens) at work
  • Prevention
  • While the cause of salivary gland cancer is currently unknown, researchers continue to look for primary causes. In the meantime, Miami Cancer Institute experts recommend taking certain steps to help prevent or reduce your risk for many diseases. 

These involve changing lifestyle behaviors and certain environmental exposures, including:

  • Eliminating tobacco use
  • Reducing alcohol consumption
  • Avoiding exposure to toxic chemicals 
  • Getting vaccinated for Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
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