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What Is Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma?

Adenoid cystic carcinoma cancer is a rare form of adenocarcinoma, which is a broad term describing any cancer that usually starts in the glandular tissues.

The initial symptoms of Adenoid cystic carcinoma cancer depends on the place where the tumour is formed in the body. Symptoms may include slow pain, hoarse voice, swallowing problem, a bump in front of the ear or below the jaw, paralysis of a facial nerve, an abnormal area on the lining of the mouth, a lump on the palate, under the tongue, or in the bottom of the mouth. It may occur in other parts of the body like sweat glands or tear glands.
More women are affected by Adenoid cystic carcinoma cancer than men.
Adenoid cystic carcinoma cancer grows slowly so at times it may happen that before you see any symptom it tends to spread along nerves or through the bloodstream to other parts of the body like lungs, live or bones, where health risk become more serious.

The common treatment for Adenoid cystic carcinoma is surgery which is followed by radiation therapy. While performing the surgery doctors take out the tumour along with some healthy tissues around it and ensures that the cancer has not spread beyond the tumour. At times a part of the nerve has to be removed and on doing so a part of your face may not be able to move or your face may droop. In other times, part of your voice box or windpipe has to be taken out.

When it is not possible for the doctor to take out the entire tumour then he performs radiation therapy as he is worried on having missed on seeing other places around where cancer could have spread. The three main types of radiation therapy are internal radiation, external beam radiation and radiopharmaceuticals.

X-rays, CT scans, or MRI, and regular check-ups are required to look for signs of new tumours.

Side effects of radiation therapy done on head and neck would include dry mouth, difficulty in swallowing or there could be soreness around the area which is being treated. The patient may have hair loss.

It is difficult to get fully cured from Adenoid cystic carcinoma cancer. Tumours which are removed may come back in the same place or in somewhere else, mostly in your lungs. Patients may survive for at least 5 years after their diagnosis.