LeBron James Has Benign Parotid Tumor Removed

Lebron James benign growth along his right jaw line.

LeBron James, 24, plays basketball for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Today he is resting at the Cleveland Clinic after undergoing surgery there yesterday for a benign parotid growth.

Dr. Frank Papay performed the surgery which took five-hours. The parotid gland is a gland near the ear at the side of the face which produces saliva. It is also very closely related to the facial nerve which supplies most of the facial muscles. He is expected to need no further treatment.

Salivary gland disorders, including those of the parotid gland, are not a major public health problem in the Western world. Tumors (or neoplasms) of the salivary glands account for fewer than 3% of tumors in the US and only 6% of head and neck tumors. Approximately 2500 new cases of salivary gland tumors are diagnosed each year. Of these, parotid tumors account for 80% of all salivary tumors. Of these parotid masses, only 75% are neoplasms. The other 25% are cysts or inflammatory in nature. Of parotid neoplasms, 70-80% are benign.


Masses or lumps in the area of the parotid gland should be checked by your doctor. If they are associated with sudden onset, pain, and systemic infection; then the mass or swelling will most likely by due to an inflammatory conditions (ie mumps).

The most common presentation for a parotid tumor is that of an asymptomatic mass (no pain or systemic infection) noted incidentally while washing or shaving the face. Facial nerve paralysis is more commonly due to malignancy in the presence of a parotid mass, but most facial nerve paralysis is due to Bell palsy. Parotid masses occur most commonly in the lower pole, or tail, and in the superficial lobe of the gland.

If you notice a mass or swelling of your parotid gland, have your doctor check it.