The salivary glands produce saliva, the fluid that keeps mucosal surfaces in the mouth and throat moist. There are many salivary glands; the major ones are in the floor of the mouth and near the jawbone.
Salivary gland cancers are rare, affecting fewer than two of every 100,000 Americans. The primary risk factors for this type of cancer include previous radiation therapy to the head and neck region and infection with the Epstein-Barr virus. The five-year survival rate for these cancers is 79 percent.