Jefferson University Hospitals

Tonsil Cancer

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Squamous cell carcinoma and lymphoma are two types of cancer that affect the tonsils. Considered a form of oropharyngeal or oral cancer, tonsil cancer most commonly affects people over the age of 50, with alcohol and tobacco use as major risk factors for developing the disease, as well as viral causes.

You should seek the help of a Jefferson physician when you or a loved one experience the common symptoms of infected or enlarged tonsils or adenoids. With a multidisciplinary approach to care, you may be seen by an otolaryngologist or a sleep medicine specialist to effectively diagnose and treat your disease.

Diagnosing Tonsil Cancer

After obtaining your health history and giving an examination, your physician will likely order a biopsy, fine needle aspiration, blood tests, sleep study, X-rays, an MRI and/or a PET scan to diagnose tonsil cancer.

Treating Tonsil Cancer

Depending on the stage and type of your tonsil cancer, your physician will work with you to find the best treatment option, including surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.