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A new growth on your cheek? Be careful! It might be a tumor!



Recently, a 62-year-old male patient successfully underwent resection of parotid tumor in Guangzhou Fuda Cancer Hospital (Fuda) in Haizhu District.


Two years ago, Mr. He found a mass beneath his left ear, which was as big as the thumb. “It feels like a pimple and it doesn’t hurt or itch, so I just ignored it.” He added that the pimple was getting bigger and bigger and then he tried traditional Chinese medicine but it didn’t help. “When I arrived here, the mass already grew as big as an egg.”


On July 27, Mr. He came to our hospital for treatment. The ultrasound showed a hypoechoic mass beneath his left ear, measuring about 4.9×2.0×2.0cm, and bilateral thyroid nodules. In addition, he was diagnosed with type II diabetes. In this case, our experts – Jin Guoping, Xu Weizhong, Chen Yuerong and Wang Zhibing recommended that he can undergo surgery after his blood sugar is stable. “I don’t worry about my tumor, but my diabetes, because I can’t eat whatever I want.” He added that his wife wanted to take him to Shanghai for treatment but he refused. Instead he chose Fuda. “Fuda is close to my house. Doctors and nurses here are really nice. Why bother to go to Shanghai?”


On August 20, Dr. Jin Guoping performed the surgery for Mr. He under general anesthesia. After that, he recovered well. “Although most parotid tumors are benign ones but they will oppress the nerves in face and neck. Some patients are afraid of surgery so they are not willing to see a doctor, which brings negative impacts on their daily life. Therefore, early detection and treatment are important,” said Dr. Jin Guoping.

What on earth parotid tumor is? What is the cause for this tumor? How to treat it? Let’s do some research on it.


What is parotid tumor?

In daily life, most people just know about mumps when talking about parotid gland, but know little of parotid tumor. As it known to all, the parotid glands are the largest pair of the three salivary glands in human body, and are located in a narrow triangular space between the ear and the posterior edge of the mandible (so masses are less visible there). Parotid tumor is a general term for benign and malignant tumors occurring in the parotid gland. The tumor is mostly under the earlobe and in front of the tragus, and is one of the common diseases in head and neck.


How to differentiate benign and malignant tumors?

Dr. Jin Guoping said that most parotid tumors are benign, among which mixed tumors (also known as pleomorphic adenomas) are the most common ones. Patients with benign parotid tumors have no obvious subjective symptoms, such as pain. The tumor will slowly grow at the beginning and the course of disease may reach several years or even more than a decade. Except that the tumor can be touched, no other discomfort can be found. That’s why many patients will ignore.

While the parotid gland malignant tumor grows faster, mostly with irregular shape, hard texture and vague boundary, and the surrounding tissue may adhere to each other so that the tumor can’t be moved easily. The mass may cause pain or even rupture of the skin, invade the blood vessels and nerves of the surrounding muscles, and may cause facial numbness, limited opening of the mouth, hearing loss, dysphagia and other symptoms.


Why is the cause for parotid tumor?

The exact cause of parotid tumor is not clear, but there are many causes, such as malnutrition, previous suffering from other parotid diseases, epstein-Barr virus and so on. In addition, it is also related to a variety of factors such as personal physique, living habits, family genetic history and external stimulation. In particular, external stimuli, such as some ointments and the use of mobile phones against the ear, may cause pathological changes of epithelial tissue. Therefore, making a call on mobile phone for a long time may cause parotid tumors.


How to treat it?

Whether the first operation is correct and complete is the key to cure. Surgery is an effective means to treat parotid tumors. For malignant tumors, surgery should be combined with adjuvant therapy, such as radiotherapy. The key to surgery is to dissect and preserve the facial nerve while completely removing the parotid tumor.


How to prevent?

"Better to stop smoking and drinking alcohol, keep a balanced diet, and avoid long phone calls." Dr. Jin Guoping added that tobacco has a negative impact on parotid tumor, which can induce adenoma, so if you want to keep fit, better to give up tobacco. During the phone call, the mobile phone will be attached to the surface of the parotid gland which absorbs a lot of radiation. In this case, it will greatly increase the probability of electromagnetic radiation induced gland tissue lesions. We can’t confirm the cause of parotid tumor, so few preventive measures can be taken. The most important thing is to go for timely treatment, which may generate good prognosis.


Dr. Jin Guoping reminds the general public, "Although there is no pain or itching, we still need to be vigilant. When there is a lump or pain in the front and bottom of the earlobe, please go to the hospital in time to prevent the delay of treatment."

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