Tonsil cancer care at Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic experts offer compassionate, comprehensive care to those with tonsil cancer.

Your Mayo Clinic care team

At Mayo Clinic, care for people with tonsil cancer is directed by surgeons who specialize in head and neck cancers (head and neck oncologic surgeons) who coordinate a multispecialty team. Surgeons may include face, mouth and jaw surgeons (oral and maxillofacial surgeons) and ear, nose and throat surgeons (ENT specialists or otolaryngologists).

Your care team might also include experts in radiation oncology, medical oncology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, rehabilitation therapies, and other specialties as needed.

Learn more about Mayo Clinic's Head and Neck Cancer Center.

Advanced diagnosis and treatment

Mayo Clinic doctors have access to the latest methods for diagnosing and treating tonsil cancer. Head and neck cancer specialists offer:

  • HPV testing for every tonsil cancer. Most tonsil cancers diagnosed at Mayo Clinic are associated with HPV, which has a profound impact on tonsil cancer prognosis. For this reason, Mayo Clinic doctors test all tonsil cancers for HPV.
  • Reduced intensity treatment when possible. Mayo Clinic doctors are studying new treatment protocols for people with HPV-associated tonsil cancers that reduce the amount of treatment given and lower the risk of treatment side effects, without sacrificing cure rates.
  • Innovative surgical techniques. Mayo Clinic head and neck surgeons are skilled at using transoral robotic surgery, transoral laser microsurgery and other minimally invasive surgery procedures. These procedures may offer shorter recovery times and fewer complications than traditional surgery.
  • Highly targeted radiation technology. Radiation oncologists at Mayo Clinic have access to the latest technology that enables them to deliver radiation precisely, such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy and proton therapy. This ensures the cancer cells receive the most radiation and nearby healthy cells are spared.
  • A full range of treatment options. Mayo Clinic doctors will work with you to review all of your treatment options and choose the treatment that best suits your needs and goals. The range of treatments offered to people with tonsil cancer includes surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. You may also choose to enroll in a clinical trial.
  • Supportive services for your individual needs. At Mayo Clinic you have access to a variety of experts to help you cope and recover, including specialists in speech and swallowing, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and dietitians. Palliative care specialists work with you, your family and your other doctors to provide an extra layer of support that complements your ongoing care. The Nicotine Dependence Center can help if you want help to stop smoking.

Expertise and rankings

The world-class experts at Mayo Clinic offer an integrated team approach to cancer care. When you seek care at Mayo Clinic, you can expect:

  • Personalized treatment. At Mayo Clinic, face, mouth and jaw surgeons (oral and maxillofacial surgeons), ear, nose and throat specialists (otolaryngologists), radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, and rehabilitation medicine specialists work as a team to create a personalized treatment plan that takes into consideration all of your needs.
  • Experience you can trust. Each year, Mayo Clinic doctors care for more than 600 people with tonsil cancer. This experience and expertise ensures that your care team is prepared with the knowledge and resources to provide you with exactly the care you need.
  • Nationally recognized expertise. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets the strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, which recognize scientific excellence and a multispecialty approach focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.

Locations, travel and lodging

Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.

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Costs and insurance

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.

In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals, or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Learn more about appointments at Mayo Clinic.

Please contact your insurance company to verify medical coverage and to obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Often, your insurer's customer service number is printed on the back of your insurance card.

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Jan. 29, 2021