The major symptom of parotid gland tumors is a painless swelling located in front of the ears. This swelling is caused by gradual expansion of the parotid gland. Salivary gland tumors can also cause facial numbness and difficulty moving one side of the face, according to The New York Times.
The parotid glands are the largest glands in the salivary system. The salivary glands produce moisture that assists in digestion of food and helps combat bacteria. The parotid glands are situated inside the cheeks and are the site of the characteristic swelling that occurs in mumps and some other infections, explains WebMD. In addition to tumors, the salivary glands can be the site of infections, cysts, stones and inflammatory conditions. These conditions can be very painful.
The two most common forms of parotid gland tumors are pleomorphic adenomas and Warthin's tumors. Pleomorphic adeonomas are noncancerous growths than occur more often in women than men. Warthin's tumors, which occur primarily in men, may be bilateral, indicates WebMD.
Most parotid gland tumors are benign, although cancerous tumors can occur. Regardless of whether they are malignant or benign, salivary gland tumors are usually treated with surgery, states WebMD. Radiation may also be used to reduce the possibility of recurrence.