This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Mucoepidermoid carcinoma is a type of cancer of the salivary glands. Salivary gland cancer is diagnosed in 2-3 individuals per 100,000 people each year, and 30-35% of these are mucoepidermoid carcinomas. Mucoepidermoid carcinoma develops when a cell randomly acquires changes (mutations) in genes that regulate how the cell divides such that it begins to grow quickly, forming a cluster of cells (a mass or lump). The earliest signs of a mucoepidermoid carcinoma may include a lump in the face, neck, or mouth; numbness, weakness, or pain in part of the face; or difficulty swallowing. Treatment often begins with surgery to remove the entire tumor. In some cases, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may be used after surgery to ensure that no cancer cells remain in the body.
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