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Parotid tumor, pain always means malignancy?

Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2011


First of all, please forgive my poor english, this is not my native language (I am from Poland) but I will try to describe my problem as good as I can.

Many (at least five) years ago I discovered a strange structure in my salivary gland. I did nothing with it, it was painless, I thought it was a kind of bone or cartilage. Throught all this years, nothing was happen with this tumor, I almost forget that something like that exists in my salivary.

This winter I had a flu and the tumor started to pain. My doc said it is nothing special, just an old lymph node, but I did an ultrasonography which showed that it is not a lymph node. Then, I did a biopsy of that tumor but nothing special was found there -- only a lot of red blood cells and some groups of normal salivary gland cells. Additionaly I had a huge lymph node (about 3 cms), which dissappeared (I mean: came back to normal size) after recovery from the flu. At this time I have normal lymph node.

The tumor is removable, not so huge (about 15x10 mms), it does not grow up (or maybe precisely: I dont feel by fingers that it doesnt grow up), but it PAINS. Frankly speaking I am not so sure that the tumor pains or maybe it pains somewhere very close to it. When I touch and press the place close to the tumor, it pains more.

OK, the punchline. I have been reading that pain is characteristic for malignant tumors. Does my pain mean I have a malignant tumor? Or maybe bening tumor can also be painful?

Hal61's picture
Posts: 655
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi, sorry to hear you are having trouble. As for your English, it's very good; much better, than my Polish. It's good you are keeping track of your problem. Pain does not mean a lump or mass is malignant or not malignant. Your biopsy showed no cancer, and it's the best test, and good for you it was negative. I hope your pain becomes less after the tumor is removed. Until then, best luck, and be glad the signs and test show no cancer.

best, Hal

ekdennie's picture
Posts: 236
Joined: Aug 2010

you can have pain with tumors, but there can also be no pain. my tumor did not have pain and it was malignant. pain and tumors just mean that the tumor is near a nerve. pain can also mean you have been playing with the lump.
if the lump bothers you it is always safer to have it removed, I wish I had my lump removed when it was smaller, recovery would have been easier. mine was a malignant salivary gland tumor of the hard palate (roof of mouth).
oh, I almost forgot, your english is very good!

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

Welcome to the family here on CSN, I agree with Hal & ekdennie the pain does not mean the tumor is back or anything. Most of the time after the tumor has been removed is it a long healing process that may takes many mouths.

Take care my friend and let us know how you are doing

Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2011

Hello again,

Thank you for all your replies, frankly speaking I did not believe/expect that anyone will answer on my post. @Hondo: I have not (yet) removed tumour, this is my first tumor and I hope the last one :)

To be honest with you: I am in a bad mental condition now. I am almost 30 years old, have a wonderful daughter (2 year old) and a superb wife. We have lived a silent life close to the forest in Warsaw and now the more I think about my tumor, the darkest thoughts I have.

I will have a second biopsy (FNAB) on 21st March. I decided to do it once again in a different hospital because my doc said the result of the latest was too general. "many red blood cells, and some groups of normal salivary cells", who knows maybe the guy who was doing a FNAB did not hit the tumour with the needle? Is this possible? And, of course, tumour's pain alarms me. If everything was ok with the previous biopsy, I do not lose anything, even more: I will be confirmed that everything is OK with me. However, as I wrote, I have a bad feelings.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I feel and I'm sure in 99.99% that the tumor does not grow up, however I saw a little bulge in the parotid salivary in a photo of me made today. Three or four months ago I did not have this bulge. So I'm a little bit confused and anxious.

OK, to don't finish in a sad mood, let me say to you ,,cheers''. It's friday evening here and I am drinking one of the best polish regional beer ,,Kasztelańskie niepasteryzowane''. I hope you will join me someday.

Hal61's picture
Posts: 655
Joined: Dec 2009

Hello, good idea to get a second biopsy. Doctors who do needle biopsies will say they can get a good and reliable sample with the needle. Some doctors don't trust them--needle biopsies--as much, and would rather do a surgical biopsy. I had a lymph node removed to confirm my BOT (Base Of Tongue) cancer last year. I had radiation treatments, chemo thereapy, and a partial neck dissection, and my last PET/CT scan shows all clear.

Good thinking to have the second biopsy done in a different hospital. See if your doc will prescribe something for the pain. You don't need pain and worry too, until the second biopsy is done.

I love those Germanic-root names. I don't think I could drink your beer and say it at the same time. Ha.

best, Hal

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

Glad you are getting the second biopsy. I had a swollen lymph node right by my left salivary gland. Then the gland swelled too. My FNAB showed SCC. They searched and scanned but never found my primary. I had a modified radical neck dissection and they removed my salivary gland tumor, and 23 lymph nodes, 3 were cancer.

All I can say is if you have a bad feeling listen to it. I knew when I went to the doctors and my swollen lymph node didn't get better with antibiotics and got worse, that I was in trouble.

I wish you well. Your English is great, by the way.



lizziek's picture
Posts: 27
Joined: Feb 2011

Do some internet research on who is the top hospital in your country or in Europe for head and neck cancers and have your doctor send the biopsy slides to them. Getting a second pathology opinion is a good idea. If both come out the same then you have confidence in the diagnosis.

A good way to find out the top centers is to see who is doing clinical trials. Go to ClinicalTrials.gov They currently list 104,250 trials with locations in 174 countries.

Would love to share that beer. Good luck


Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2011

Where did you find it? My names is Pawel, Paul in english I suppose. As far as I remember, it is a Latin name.

You wrote I don't need a worry until the second biopsy is done. Yes, I understand that at this moment everything is clear, I mean: I dont have an influence on anything, especially on the result of biopsy. All I can do is waiting and do this biopsy. Hmmm, sounds quite easy.

Take care,

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2011

Hi am wondering how your 2nd biopsy went. I too just recently had a biopsy of what I have been told so far is a very swollen lymph node however it is so large i constantly feel it & sometimes when I swallow it feels like it is being pinched. My ENT said my results showed red blood cells present which I know blood isn't supposed to be in the lymph node so is this a swollen lymph node or is it a tumor? It doesn't hurt well until my biopsy but it does get very hot I can feel it burning under my skin like it's going to explode. This feeling I usually notice at night, they maybe bc I'm busier during the day & just dont notice it. It has definitely gotten bigger since my biopsy 1 week ago. I don't know what to do or ask anymore. I am very grateful my ENT said my biopsy showed no signs of cancer however he is sending me for a CT scan he said just to make sure & he did not sound happy with the biopsy results, the way he sounded I was waiting to hear the worst. I have been looking online & finally found your post so I hoping you or someone else maybe able to share dome information if they have experienced a similar situation. I am 27 & I have a beautiful son & great husband & I try to stay positive but I can't help but think negative thoughts & it is starting to really affect my & even worse my family. Thank you for any advice or information & I have never posted anything online before so I hope I did it correctly.

Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2011

Sorry, for delay, I do not come here so often unfortunatelly.

As you probably read, my first biopsy showed also red blood cells and I had also a huge (almost 3 cms) lymph node. Doc told me that problably the biopsy was not done properly, that's why she recomended me to do the second biopsy (which showed later adenoma pleomorphum and suggested the surgery).

Yes, I also had a hot feeling close to the tumor and I also had a feeling that after first (and second) biopsy my tumor gotten bigger. The ultrasonography did not confirm it, so it was just a feeling or the tumor moved somehow closer to the skin.

Right now I am almost two months after surgery. The histopathology confirmed the second biopsy (tumor mixtus) without any infiltrations.

Please write some news how are you and how the thins are going.

Hal61's picture
Posts: 655
Joined: Dec 2009

Hey Paul, I meant the name for the beer, not your name. :-} No bad intended. Best on your biopsy.


Lelia's picture
Posts: 98
Joined: Jun 2011

As you no doubt know by now, Parotid tumors are very often NOT cancer and removal is relatively simple. My husband had a benign (harmless) parotid tumor in 1984, the surgeon did an excellent job, saved the facial nerve and after healing, there was no trace.

Fast forward to 2010, the parotid tumor recurred as a stage IV primary with mets to the earbone and lymphs. A certain percentage of benign parotid tumors regrow as cancer years later; we weren't told this in the 80s but lucky for us, this time the tumor hit scar tissue from the earlier surgery and taking the path of least resistance, emerged behind my husband's ear. It presented as a simple cyst and our PCP diagnosed it as such, referring us to a derm for removal. When the 'cyst' didn't drain as expected, they biopsied. Neither tumor, the harmless 1984 or the cancerous 2010, caused any discomfort at all.

Hope you're well, would love to hear an update report, I rarely find parotid tumors here and am always interested -- wishing you the best in all things, L

Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2011

Yes, I was told by my doc that there is ,,a chance'' or reccurences (however not so big, but IT IS) and every next recurrence increases the risk of malignancy.

,,Although your histopatology showed you didn't have a malignant tumor, please remember you will be always a patient of oncology.'' -- my doc.

I am now almost two months after surgery, I came back to normal life: I work, I spend my time with my family, I plan my holidays, and still wannabe a rock star ;)

Take care and have fun,

corleone's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jul 2012

Hi rabarbar,

You have already got very documented and pertinent answers to your concerns. I only have one question, although it may seem dumb, have you ever been checked for salivary (parotid) gland stones? This should have been ruled out long time ago, but I am just curios if it has been even considered at the time.

Posts: 12
Joined: Feb 2011

EmbarassedHi;I was told 2 yrs ago,after having MRI,I have small masses in parotid.ENT(Ear Dr) not really worried.He,said If gland swells,or any changes then,come in.

     He,did do Catscan last yr.Nothing abnormal. I,still have TMJ(Jaw) and Gland swelling&pain.I,have Acid Reflex.So,I think secrections,make gland swell.As,though I blew up a balloon&jaw hurt,after.I,want another MRI,but getting Dr to order one,is difficult.Iam,calling them,next wk&making appt.Since,this pain,bothered me so,much last nite.

My,niece had Hodskins Lymphoma&is all better now.I,do get worried. Best of luck&Keep looking into your problem. I,have cousin in Lodz Poland

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