The incidence and epidemiological features of salivary gland cancer including parotid gland tumor were investigated in Israel.
The annual incidence of major salivary gland cancer was 0.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Of 1924 cases (1039 men, 885 women), 60% were in the parotid gland, 7% in the submandibular gland, and fewer than 1% in the sublingual gland; the remaining 33% were stated as overlapping or not otherwise specified. The total number of parotid gland cancers in Israel increased 4-fold from 1970 to 2006 (from 16 to 64 cases per year), whereas other major salivary gland cancers remained stable. The steepest increase occurred after 2001, with an average of 37 cases of parotid gland cancer annually before that date and 61 cases per year subsequently, whereas the distribution of cases by age, sex, or tumor type did not change substantially during this time.
Israelis are heavy users of cellular phones, with a 6-fold increase in usage from 1997 to 2006. Data on individual exposure to cell phones are not available in the cancer registry data, and no causal association with parotid malignant tumors can be ascertained from these ecologic data. Further research is required to investigate the spectrum of possible etiological factors.