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Tonsil Cancer - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Published on Sep 25, 2021   -  4 min read


The tonsil is a vital organ, and its cancer can not only interfere with routine activities but can also cost one’s life if ignored. Read this article to know more about tonsil cancer, its symptoms, causes, stages, treatment, and its outcome.


What Is Tonsil?

The tonsil is an organ involved in the lymphatic system. These tonsils are located near the throat and are two in number. It is lined by pink-colored mucosa. Tonsils are beneficial in fighting against different infections. In some patients, tonsils are removed at a much younger age due to tonsillitis.

What Is Tonsil Cancer?

The development of abnormal growth in the tonsils is known as tonsil cancer. These tonsils are vital for our immunity, and any cancerous condition of tonsils makes an individual prone to several kinds of infections. It can also disrupt normal eating and swallowing patterns. Tonsil cancers are usually classified as oropharynx cancer, throat cancer, and head and neck cancer.

What Is the Epidemiology of Tonsil Cancer?

Malignant conditions of tonsils are very rare. Less than 0.5 percent of new cases of throat cancer are reported in the United States of America every year. But the occurrence of oropharyngeal carcinoma is common.

What Are the Causes of Tonsil Cancer?

Smoking and alcohol consumption can cause tonsil cancer. In some patients, tonsil cancer can be due to the presence of viral pathogens. The notable viruses causing tonsil cancer are the human papillomavirus and Epstein-Barr virus. A diet that is poor in nutrition can also cause tonsil cancer. Chewing of betel quid can also serve as a cause in increasing the susceptibility of tonsil cancer.

What Are the Symptoms of Tonsil Cancer?

The various symptoms associated with tonsil cancer are:

What Are the Different Stages of Tonsil Cancer?

The stages of tonsil cancer are categorized below.

How Is Tonsil Cancer Diagnosed?

The diagnostic procedures for tonsil cancer involve the following.

What Are the Treatment Options for Tonsil Cancer?

If the tonsil cancer is in a precancerous state, it can be easily removed with minor surgery. Other stages might require the following treatment options.

How to Prevent Tonsil Cancer?

What Is the Prognosis for Tonsil Cancer?

Leading a normal life with tonsil cancer can be difficult. The patient has to understand their condition very well so that it can be helpful for the doctors to treat them very easily. A minimum of five years survival rate is predicted after the diagnosis is made. Patients who are known to be positive for human papillomavirus have a 71 percent survival rate for tonsil cancer. Patients whose cause cannot be detected show a survival rate of 26 percent. The prognosis for non-smokers is relatively good compared to smokers. The other factors that determine the rate of prognosis are:

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