A retrospective chart review study was conducted on 498 patients with histopathologically confirmed carcinoma of the major salivary glands to ascertain the potential risk factors and to abstract the clinicopathologic and survival data. The distribution of histologic classification varied by race, sex, and history of benign salivary gland lesion (37 patients). Of the 57 patients who had a history of radiation exposure, 49 patients had been irradiated in a field encompassing the salivary gland area. Sixty-six patients had had a prior primary cancer. Of 43 instances of previous skin cancer, 37 occurred in male patients. The rationale for a possible relationship between cutaneous neoplasms and salivary carcinoma is explained embryologically and histogenetically. Tumor histology, anatomic site, race, and sex were important predictors of survival.