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Signs and Symptoms of Recurrence

The first sign of a recurrence of a benign parotid tumor will typically be that a patient feels a lump near the same area where they had their original tumor, and/or they will have similar symptoms to what they experienced with their first tumor.

A patient who is concerned about a potential recurrence should contact their physician to discuss their new symptoms.

A tumor occurring on the opposite side, either at the same time as the original tumor or later, is a new primary tumor not a recurrence. It is uncommon for a benign parotid tumor to recur on the opposite side from the original tumor.

There are certain tumors that can be found in both parotid glands up to 10% of the time, such as benign Warthin and oncocytoma tumors and malignant acinic cell carcinomas.

A patient with a recurrence of a malignant parotid tumor may experience different symptoms than a patient with a benign tumor. Malignant parotid tumors can spread and affect other areas of the body.

A patient with these symptoms should be evaluated by their physician to obtain a proper diagnosis:

  • Pain
  • New lump in the parotid bed
  • Rapidly growing mass
  • Enlarged neck lymph nodes
  • Facial nerve paralysis or impaired facial nerve function

It is important for patients to ask their surgeon if they were able to get clear margins during surgery. The most important factor for preventing a recurrence of a parotid tumor is complete removal of the tumor along with normal tissue surrounding the tumor to ensure that all edges of the tumor were removed.