Due to the slow course of the disease, the person may disregard the presenting symptoms and may only be alarmed if the lump doesn’t go away after several weeks, causing a delay in the diagnosis.
For the diagnosis to be made, your doctor may do either of the following procedures:
- Needle biopsy (a process wherein a needle is placed on the area of the tumor to extract a tissue sample and be sent for histopathologic examination).
- Surgical resection, wherein the entire tumor and the surrounding tissue is removed and examined under the microscope so that an appropriate staging or classification can be done.
- Imaging procedures that may include Computed Tomography Scan (CT Scan), Positron Emission Tomography Scan (PET scan), and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to evaluate the extent of the tumor. CT Scans are usually requested if the patient has symptoms that point to impingement of the nearby structures such as the change in the timbre of voice and facial paralysis.
Treatment options depend mainly on the staging and histologic classification. The gold standard for therapy is resection or removal of the mass itself and its surrounding unaffected tissue to minimize the recurrence of the malignancy.
Radiotherapy uses high dose radiation to target ACC affected areas. This method of treatment is usually used as a follow-up therapy after the surgical resection, especially among cases where the metastasis or the spread of the malignancy has reached specific layers not visible to the naked eye.
Chemotherapy utilizes certain drugs that target cancer cells. Still, this type of treatment is more systemic and thereby causes more unwanted side effects such as anorexia ( loss of appetite), disequilibrium, and sometimes damages the healthy cells too.