Basal cell adenomas are tumors that affect the salivary glands and may be diagnosed by your dentist. Here are four things you need to know about these tumors.
What are the signs of basal cell adenomas?
Most basal cell adenomas affect the parotid glands, the major salivary glands located just in front of your ears. The submandibular glands, the glands on the sides of your jaw, may also be affected.
A firm, painless swelling in the area around the salivary gland is the main sign of this tumor. The swelling grows larger over time and often reaches diameters of between 3 cm and 8 cm. If you notice a swelling in the area around one of your salivary glands, make sure to tell your dentist.
Are they serious?
Basal cell adenomas are benign. They are not cancerous and will not become cancerous in the future. However, just because they're not cancerous doesn't mean that they can't cause problems.
Nerves pass through the area surrounding your salivary glands and if the tumor gets large enough, it can compress the nerves. This compression can lead to problems like numbness or tingling on the affected side of your face. Weakness or drooping of the muscles on the affected side can also occur. To avoid these problems, basal cell adenomas need to be treated promptly.
How are they treated?
Once your dentist has diagnosed your tumor, treatment can begin. These tumors are treated with surgical excision. Your dentist may need to refer you to an oral surgeon to have this procedure done.
For this surgery, you'll be given general anesthesia, so you'll sleep through the entire procedure. The surgeon will make an incision in your skin to expose the affected salivary gland. The tumor will then be cut away from the salivary gland with a scalpel or a laser.
A margin of tissue from around the tumor will also be removed to ensure that no abnormal cells are left behind. If necessary, the entire salivary gland will be removed.
After your surgery, regular follow-up appointments with your dentist are recommended. The recurrence rate for these tumors is fairly low, but your dentist will still need to monitor you, just as a precaution.
Are basal cell adenomas common?
Basal cell adenomas are a rare type of salivary gland tumor. Only 1% to 3% of all tumors in the salivary glands are basal cell adenomas. These tumors are slightly more common among females than males. The mean age of onset is 57.7 years.
If you notice swelling on your face, see your dentist right away. You could have a basal cell adenoma. For more information, visit Roy and Kali Family Dental Centre.