This involves taking a small piece (sample) from the cancer. The sample is then examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells. This is often the only sure way to tell if you have cancer. Diagnosis of salivary gland cancers can be very difficult and, sometimes, a definite diagnosis cannot be made until the whole cancer is removed.
Your doctor may recommend an incision biopsy or a needle biopsy.
Incision biopsy: If you have a sore or a lump in the mouth, a small piece will be cut of it. This is usually done by your doctor or dentist in their clinic under a local anaesthetic, so that you don't feel any pain.
Needle biopsy (Fine Needle Aspiration or FNA): This is used when there is a lump (enlarged lymph node) in front of the ear or in the neck, that could have cancer cells in it. During the procedure, your doctor will take some cells from the lump using a needle. Usually this is done with guidance from an ultrasound to make sure the needle is in the right spot. You may feel a bit uncomfortable during the biopsy.