The undiscovered parts of human anatomy are already very rare, but a radiation oncologist from the Netherlands recently discovered a group of salivary glands in the neck that have never been described or recorded. They said that the discovery of this new human organ has important implications for reducing side effects in cancer treatment.
Radiation oncologist Wouter Vogel said the discovery was a surprise. His team discovered the new set of salivary glands, located above a patch of cartilage known as eustachan bulge, when they looked for salivary gland damage after radiation for cancer of the head, neck or brain.
To confirm this latest finding, the Wouter Vogel team scanned 100 patients (99 of them were men because they were studying prostate cancer) and found that all of them had this newly discovered set of glands. They also dissected the nasopharynx of two donated human specimens and discovered that the newly discovered body part was composed of mucosal gland tissue and a duct that flows into the nasopharynx.