Salivary Gland Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2019

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with salivary gland cancer each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

Salivary gland cancer is uncommon in the United States. It is estimated that 1 adult out of 100,000 will be diagnosed with salivary gland cancer this year. This type of cancer makes up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States. Salivary gland cancer is more likely to occur in older people; the average age of diagnosis is 64.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for salivary gland cancer is 72%. Survival rates for people with this type of tumor vary depending on the type and the extent, or stage, of the cancer.

If cancer is found at the early stages before it has spread (stage I or stage II); see Stages), the 5-year survival rate is 93%. Approximately 43% of people are diagnosed at the early stage of the disease. If the cancer has spread outside the salivary gland to nearby structures or lymph nodes (stage III), the 5-year survival rate is 67%. If it is found after the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body (stage IV), the 5-year survival rate is 34%.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with salivary gland cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts and Figures 2017: Special Section – Rare Cancers in Adults, and the ACS website (January 2019).

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by salivary gland cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.