Beastie Boys singer's death puts spotlight on rare cancer
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Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch, also known as MCA, died Friday after a long battle with salivary gland cancer, according to multiple reports.  He was 47 years old.

Yauch announced in 2009 that he had been diagnosed and was being treated for cancer of the parotid glands and lymph nodes.  There are three major pairs of salivary glands - sublingual, submandibular and parotid, the biggest of the glands.

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, salivary gland cancer is very rare, only affecting two out of 100,000 adults each year in the U.S.  

"Most of the salivary gland tumors that people get are benign tumors, but rarely they can become malignant," Dr. Eric Genden, the chief of head and neck surgery at Mount Sanai Hospital in New York City, told Foxnews.com.  "And [Yauch] is a particularly rare case because this guy was so young."  

While the causes of this kind of cancer remain unknown, suspected risk factors include old age, receiving radiation therapy to the head or neck and being exposed to certain substances in the work place.


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