Throat Cancer

19 April, 2023

Cancer is a terrible disease as symptoms are usually identified at a later stage, which can keep you away from getting treatment on time. One such cancer is tonsil cancer. It is a rare kind of cancer, and symptoms can go unnoticed, causing more serious health issues. 

If you are experiencing a sore throat, difficulty swallowing or a lump in your throat that’s just not going, it may feel like a minor annoyance, but it could be a sign of tonsil cancer. Therefore, it’s important to stay aware of the symptoms of this rare cancer. We will be discussing tonsil cancer’s early signs and symptoms for prompt treatment.

What Is Tonsil Cancer?

Tonsil cancer is a rare disease, which attacks the cells of the tonsil present at the back of your throat. Tonsil plays an important role in keeping our body healthy by fighting infections and bacteria entering through the mouth and nose. 

Risk Factors

Some of the risk factors for tonsil can include:

  • Smoking and chewing tobacco are the main causes of tonsil cancer.
  • Drinking too much alcohol can also increase the risk of developing this disease.
  • People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop tonsil cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Tonsil Cancer

Identifying symptoms can help you seek medical treatment on time. Below are some signs and symptoms of tonsil cancer. 

  • Having a sore throat that doesn’t go away even after having medicines
  • Pain or difficulty while swallowing or feeling of having a lump in the throat
  • Hoarseness or a heavy voice that’s not going even after taking antibiotics for 2 or 3 weeks
  • Constant severe pain in the ear, which means that cancer has spread beyond the tonsil
  • Having a lump or swelling in the neck
  • Bad breath even after oral hygiene
  • Weight loss 

These Symptoms are common for other diseases as well, therefore, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to refer to an ENT specialist. 



If you are constantly facing the above signs and symptoms, it’s better to consult a doctor. If there’s any unusual thing that the doctor notices, he will recommend you visit an ENT specialist who can diagnose any abnormal cell growth or any changes through:

  • Imaging tests, like X-rays, CT scans or MRIs can identify the presence of any tumour.
  • A biopsy can help identify the stage of cancer and how advanced it is. This involves extracting tissues from the tonsil for laboratory analysis. 

After the diagnosis is done, the doctor will check whether or not cancer cells are present. If they are present, the doctor will recommend appropriate tonsil cancer treatment.


The commonly recommended treatments for tonsil cancer are: 

  • Surgery

Surgery is usually used when tonsil cancer is in the first stage and has not spread to other body parts. Here, only the affected tissues are removed to avoid it from spreading to other parts.

  • Radiation Therapy

A beam of radiation is directed to the cancer cells to destroy them. In tonsil cancer, external radiation therapy is most common. 

  • Chemotherapy 

It involves the usage of medication for a specific period. It may be used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments. The treatment has several side effects, like nausea, vomiting, and hair loss. 

  • Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy uses drugs to target and destroy specific cells that help cancer cells grow. By pausing the growth of abnormal cancer cells, tonsil cancer can be cured with help of medication.

After the treatment, you must follow doctors’ instructions for aftercare. This may include follow-up with doctors to monitor recovery and signs of recurrence and eating healthy and nutritious food. After surgery, you may have dry mouth or sores, so you must maintain oral hygiene. This may also be followed by sessions of speech and swallowing therapies. Apart from this, having good emotional support will help you heal faster. 


Cancer can be emotionally and mentally draining. Having a good support system beside you throughout the treatment will help you recover faster. With the above information, we are sure you have learnt a lot about tonsil cancer, its signs and symptoms, risk factors and treatment. Getting the correct treatment on time is important to live a long healthy life. 

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