Factors that may increase your risk of salivary gland cancer include:

  • Older age. Though it can occur at any age, salivary gland cancer is most commonly diagnosed in older adults.
  • Radiation exposure. Radiation, such as radiation used to treat head and neck cancers, increases the risk of salivary gland cancer.
  • Workplace exposure to certain substances. People who work with certain substances may have an increased risk of salivary gland cancer. Jobs associated with salivary gland cancer include those involved in rubber manufacturing, asbestos mining and plumbing.
  • Certain viruses. Viruses associated with salivary gland cancer include HIV and the Epstein-Barr virus. Human papillomavirus, which is associated with several other types of head and neck cancers, doesn't appear to increase the risk of salivary gland cancer.

Tobacco use increases the risk of many types of head and neck cancers, but it doesn't appear to play a role in the development of salivary gland cancer. However, one type of noncancerous salivary gland tumor, called Warthin tumor, is associated with tobacco use.

April 22, 2015

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