Throat and Tonsil Cancer
The tonsils are a patch of lymphoid tissue present on the side wall of the throat on each side. Many people have had their tonsils removed for recurrent infections or excessive size causing sleep disturbance. Cancers can develop in this area and are most commonly associated with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The incidents have increased over years but are now starting to plateau. The average age of presentation for this problem is around 58 years of age with half of all tonsil cancer sufferers younger than 58 years old. The most common presentation is a neck lump and often the tonsil cancer is non-symptomatic. Sometimes tonsil cancers present with pain in the throat or a foreign body or obstruction type feeling. Treatment for throat cancer includes surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy with a thorough assessment required to make the right decision for each individual patient to optimise chance of cure and long-term function.