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Parotid tumours are rare, but their diagnosis and management continue to be a surgical challenge. In a retrospective review of 60 patients over a 6-year period, the value of clinical features in distinguishing malignant from benign parotid tumours was examined. The sex of patients, the consistency, size and site of tumour, smoking, length of history and rate of growth were not helpful in differentiation. However, the association of pain, facial nerve paralysis, skin infiltration and enlarged ipsilateral cervical nodes with a final diagnosis of cancer was significant (P less than 0.005). Fixity of tumour and old age were also significant indicators of malignancy (P less than 0.05). When these symptoms and signs suggestive of malignant disease are associated with a parotid tumour, the patient should be prepared for the possibility of a radical operation. The surgeon should make extra efforts to obtain a histological diagnosis before proceeding to definitive surgery.


Journal article


S Afr J Surg

Publication Date





13 - 15


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Blacks, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Parotid Neoplasms, South Africa