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HomeAnswersOtolaryngology (E.N.T)lumps near tonsilI have painless lumps behind both tonsils. Is that cancer?

What could be the cause of painless, flesh-colored lumps behind both of my tonsils?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At December 28, 2022
Reviewed AtOctober 12, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

When the mouth is open, everything seems normal. However, when forcing movement in the mouth, I can see lumps behind both tonsils, which are painless and flesh-colored, possibly slightly lighter. They are behind both sides. However, it seems worse on one side. I have attached pictures of both sides, and an ENT appointment is scheduled, but it is still a month away. Could these be cancerous?

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I read your query and can understand your concern. The arrows point in the image (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity) towards the tonsillar crypts behind the anterior pillar on each side. The arrow is marked on the pillar. The multiple lumps-like things is the tonsil. The smooth fold in front of it is the anterior pillar. Tonsillar crypts are normal. Behind the tonsil is the posterior pharyngeal wall, which normally has mild granules and lymph structures like tonsils. When one has an infection, the tonsils swell and become red. The granules also swell and redden. Is it possible you can click more pictures paying attention to the tonsils and the granules? It does not appear like cancer, but I want to see it more clearly. I require more information about your symptoms, which can be as follows. 1. Pain or difficulty in swallowing foreign body. 2. Feeling pain while swallowing. 3. Change in voice. 4. Breathing difficulty. 5. Fever. 6. Nasal speech or nasal discharge. Hope this helps. Thanks and take care.

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

Thanks for the reply. I have none of those symptoms. The only symptom I have is that I clear my throat often, but that has always been like that.

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I read your query and can understand your concern. I can see the picture clearly (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity). They are tonsillar crypts. It does not mean cancer. Do not worry. Hope this helps. Thanks and take care.

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

Thanks for the reply. But why do they look like balls? So do you think it is a tonsil infection or anything serious that I should get tested? Why is it all lumpy? Is that normal?

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I read your query and can understand your concern. The lump is normal, and you need not get tested unless you have the symptoms I asked you about. It is normal unless one side is super big and the other is small. Some people and kids generally have big tonsils. It does not mean infection without symptoms of pain, fever, difficulty swallowing, or a change in voice. Big tonsils are more susceptible to cause symptoms when there is an infection. Since they are big already, the infection causes them to produce more obstructive symptoms. But you do not seem to have that. Mild redness is seen in the picture (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity), which could very well be due to the camera. But such a redness without symptoms signifies past infection or chronic infection but not an acute one warranting any test or immediate consult. Hope this helps. Thanks and take care.

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

Thanks for the reply. My tonsil on one side is fine but the other is slightly bigger. Is that fine?

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I read your query and can understand your concern. In your case it is fine to have one tonsil bigger than the other. Hope it helps. Thanks and take care.

Patient's Query

Okay doctor.

Thank you for the reply.

You are welcome. Take care.

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I have some more questions. Is it alarming that the lumps have some white marks on them? Is that a symptom of cancer?

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I read your query and can understand your concern. The white spots are either pus points or follicles. They do not mean cancer. Hope this helps. Thanks and take care.

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

Thanks for the reply. In regards to the lumps behind my tonsil, is this something you have seen before?

Hello doctor,

Thanks for the reply. In regards to the lumps behind my tonsil, is this something you have seen before?

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N
Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)

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