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Risks and Prevention for Salivary Gland Cancer

There are some risk factors that have been shown to increase the chances of getting salivary gland cancer.  However, having one or more risk factors does not always mean that you will develop the disease. Knowing your risk factors can help you make healthy lifestyle choices.

Discussing any risk factors you may have with your doctor can be helpful in making an accurate diagnosis. Risk factors for salivary gland cancer include:

  • Older Age: As you get older, your risk for salivary gland cancer increases, especially for those 55 and older. 
  • Radiation exposure: If you have received radiation treatment for another disease, you may be at increased risk for developing salivary gland cancer.
  • Exposure to elements in the workplace: Workers exposed to sawdust and chemicals used in certain industries such as industrial solvents and/or pesticides may be at increased risk.
  • Other possible risk factors that may be linked to salivary gland cancer but have not yet been proven include:
    • Exposure to certain metals (nickel alloy dust) or minerals (silica dust)
    • Poor diet
    • Exposure to certain hair dyes or chemicals found in hair spray