May 4th, 2012
04:30 PM ET

Beastie Boy's death: What is salivary gland cancer?

It's extremely rare for people to be diagnosed with salivary gland cancer. Most Americans who get it are older than 55.

Adam Yauch, better known as "MCA" of the Beastie Boys, died Friday at age 47 after having cancer for nearly three years.  Yauch was one of the few younger patients diagnosed with the disease.

Related: Beastie Boy rapper 'MCA' dies

Two adults in 100,000 are diagnosed with salivary gland cancer per year, according to the American Cancer Society.

"Parotid cancers are fairly unusual in general but it can appear in individuals of all ages," said Dr. Amy Chen, a head and neck cancer surgeon at Emory University in Atlanta. "It’s just in general, parotid cancer is very rare."

Yauch said in July 2009 that he first noticed a lump in his throat “like you have swollen glands.”

Marquee: Remembering the Beastie Boys' greatest hits

Marquee: Celebs devastated by tragic news

He announced he would have surgery within a week, followed by nearly two months of localized radiation treatment. He said the cancer was also in a lymph node. The survival rate depends on whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. If it hasn't, the five-year estimated rate of survival (Stage I) is 91%. If it has spread far from the glands (Stage IV), the rate is 39%.

Watch video of Yauch talking about his diagnosis.

"I always advise individuals that if you have a lump in your neck or a mass that is growing in size and it hasn’t gone away after two weeks, that you should seek medical attention for it," Chen said. "If the doctor prescribes antibiotics for it and it isn’t getting better, then you need to find another doctor."

If surgeons can't completely remove the cancer from the gland it can spread to the lungs and other parts of the body, she said.

Because the cancer is rare, it has been difficult for researchers to figure out what causes it. There are a few risk factors, the cancer society says, one of which is having radiation treatment to the head and neck for other medical reasons. Workplace exposure may also increase risk.

"We don’t find any relation to smoking or alcohol use like some other head, neck, throat cancers," Chen said. "It’s really a little bit of an unknown to what the risk factors are for developing this disease."

Most salivary gland cancers form in one of the parotid glands, as Yauch’s did, just in front of the ears. It is a difficult surgery to remove the cancerous cells, because the facial nerve goes through the parotid, according to the cancer society website.

The site says both surgical methods and radiation treatments have improved in recent years.  Unfortunately, targeted drugs have not been very effective against salivary gland cancer.

Post by:
Filed under: Cancer • Celebrity Health

soundoff (994 Responses)
  1. MileSwa

    online cialis florida delivery https://ckacialis.com/ – cialis professional vs cialis super active cialis dopoxetine

    May 28, 2021 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. EncoxGtv

    westview pharmacy canada verified internet pharmacy practice sites canada buy viagra from canadian pharmacy

    May 29, 2021 at 03:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. EncoxDev

    canadian 24 hour pharmacy zithromax online pharmacy vipps approved canadian online pharmacy

    May 29, 2021 at 03:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Uhaul Truck Repair Shop Near Me


    May 29, 2021 at 06:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. ZisseVed

    lexapro and cialis https://krocialis.com/ – do you need a prescription for cialis viagra or cialis better

    May 29, 2021 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Van Collision Repair

    Hi there, I do believe your blog may be having browser compatibility issues. When I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, great blog!


    May 29, 2021 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. EncoxAni

    drugs from canada with prescription https://pharmacyken.com/ – online pharmacy walmart com pharmacy store layout design

    May 29, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Zisseloh

    cialis with no prescription https://rcialisgl.com/ – price of cialis at walgreens when will generic cialis be available

    May 29, 2021 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. MileSwa

    cialis dapoxetine https://ckacialis.com/ – cialis at ?2 per tablet generic cialis 7days

    May 29, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Truck Technician

    Excellent article. I certainly love this website. Keep writing!


    May 29, 2021 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Box Truck Collision Repair Shop


    May 29, 2021 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. EncoxGtv

    Cardizem online pharmacy drop shipping pharmacy in canada for viagra

    May 29, 2021 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Content Marketing Agency Near Me

    Great post. I will be facing many of these issues as well..


    May 30, 2021 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Van Maintenance Shop


    May 30, 2021 at 01:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. CrulkAsd

    cialis 20 mg https://cialisjla.com/ – cialis 20mg mailorder abilene cialis canada paypal

    May 30, 2021 at 04:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Flatbed Truck Repair Shop


    May 30, 2021 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Wheelchair Van Repair Shop

    Great info. Lucky me I recently found your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I've book-marked it for later!


    May 30, 2021 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Digital Marketing Company


    May 30, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Western Star Truck Repair Shop

    I was very happy to uncover this web site. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely liked every part of it and I have you bookmarked to see new things in your website.


    May 30, 2021 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Roof Repair Service Near Me

    It’s hard to find well-informed people about this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 31, 2021 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Chevrolet Cargo Van Repair

    Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I will send this article to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!


    May 31, 2021 at 02:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Authorized Dodge Sprinter Repair

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Very well written!


    May 31, 2021 at 06:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Ford Luxury Van Repair


    May 31, 2021 at 08:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Repair Shops Near My Location


    May 31, 2021 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Sprinter Rust Repair Panels


    May 31, 2021 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. EncoxHtf

    cialis buy online canada cialis nz online cialis 20mg mailorder abilene

    May 31, 2021 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Chevy Venture Van Repair

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this topic here on your web page.


    May 31, 2021 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Ford Cargo Van Repair Shop Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. CrulkAsd

    cialis pills cialis where can i buy generuc cialis

    May 31, 2021 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Douglass Hansch

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    June 1, 2021 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Ford High Top Van Repair

    Excellent post! We will be linking to this great post on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    June 1, 2021 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. phone repair ambulance

    This website was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Many thanks!


    June 1, 2021 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. red tube photo

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It is the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    June 1, 2021 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Lessie Brochet

    You are so awesome! I don't suppose I've read anything like that before. So great to discover someone with some unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is one thing that's needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!


    June 1, 2021 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Loria Peper


    June 1, 2021 at 20:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Zisseloh

    when does the patent on cialis expire purchase cialis donde puedo comprar cialis sin receta

    June 1, 2021 at 21:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. remodeling motorhome interior


    June 1, 2021 at 22:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Tory Panchik


    June 1, 2021 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. EncoxDev

    online pharmacy certification rx plus pharmacy sanford fl united rx pharmacy

    June 2, 2021 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. upholstery places near me

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after going through a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely pleased I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!


    June 2, 2021 at 04:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. ZisseVed

    generic cialis 2017 usa cialis suppliers cialis overnight delivery

    June 2, 2021 at 05:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Lewis Belko


    June 2, 2021 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Sprinter Van Windshield Replacement Shop Near Me


    June 2, 2021 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Passenger Van Repair

    That is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate information… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 2, 2021 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. rv repairman near me

    I really like it when people get together and share ideas. Great blog, stick with it!


    June 2, 2021 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Gaynell Paulin


    June 2, 2021 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Sprinter Van Upholstery Shop Near Me

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!


    June 2, 2021 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Limo Van Repair Shop Near Me

    You are so interesting! I don't think I have read something like this before. So great to find someone with a few genuine thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that's needed on the web, someone with some originality!


    June 2, 2021 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. california horse trailers

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It's always interesting to read through articles from other authors and use something from other web sites.


    June 2, 2021 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. EncoxHtf

    tadalafil liquid cialis 100mg pills cialis and alcohol symptoms

    June 2, 2021 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.