扁桃体癌的诊断可能始于口腔和咽喉的检查。当咽喉后部的椭圆形垫（叫做扁桃体）中形成异常细胞时，就会发生这种癌症。医生可能会检查咽喉是否有肿块，然后用镜子和亮光检查口腔内部。如果发现任何部位异常，医生可能会切下细胞样本，进行化验。您可能还需要接受影像学检查，例如 CT扫描、MRI 和 PET。
The goal of surgery for tonsil cancer is to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Surgery can be used to treat all stages of tonsil cancer.
Surgery is most often done through the mouth (transoral surgery). Surgeons pass specialized tools through the mouth to access the cancer and remove it with cutting tools or lasers.
In certain situations, it may be necessary to make a large incision in the neck to remove larger cancers and cancers that have spread to the lymph nodes. Reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation may be needed to restore your ability to eat, speak and swallow.
Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of energy, such as X-rays or protons, to kill cancer cells.
Radiation therapy might be used alone to treat small cancers that haven't grown beyond the tonsil. Sometimes radiation therapy is used after surgery if the cancer can't be removed completely or if there's a risk that the cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes.
Radiation can also be combined with chemotherapy as an initial treatment or as an additional treatment after surgery. The chemotherapy makes the cancer cells more vulnerable to the radiation and may increase the effectiveness.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. For tonsil cancer, chemotherapy is usually combined with radiation therapy. It can also be used alone to slow the growth of tonsil cancer that has recurred or has spread to other areas of the body.
Rehabilitation specialists in speech therapy, swallowing therapy, dietetics, physical therapy and occupational therapy help with rehabilitation that may be necessary after surgery or radiation therapy.
Learning you have any life-threatening illness can be devastating. With time you'll find ways to cope with your feelings, but you may find comfort in these strategies:
Ask questions about tonsil cancer. Write down questions you have about your cancer. Ask these questions at your next appointment. Also ask your doctor for reliable sources where you can get more information.
Knowing more about your cancer and your treatment options may make you more comfortable when it comes to making decisions about your care.
Stay connected to friends and family. Your cancer diagnosis can be stressful for friends and family, too. Try to keep them involved in your life.
Your friends and family will likely ask if there's anything they can do to help you. Think of tasks you might like help with, such as caring for your home if you have to stay in the hospital or just being there when you want to talk.
You may find comfort in the support of a caring group of your friends and family.
- Find someone to talk with. Find someone you can talk to who has experience with people facing a life-threatening illness. Consult a counselor, medical social worker, clergy member or a support group for people with cancer.
Start by making an appointment with your dentist or family doctor if you have signs or symptoms that worry you.
If your doctor or dentist is concerned that you may have tonsil cancer, you may be referred to:
- A surgeon who specializes in procedures involving the head and neck
- A doctor who uses drugs to treat cancer (medical oncologist)
- A doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer (radiation oncologist)
Because appointments can be short, and because there's a lot of information to discuss, it's a good idea to be prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For tonsil cancer, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is my stage of tonsil cancer?
- Can you explain the pathology report to me? Can I have a copy of my pathology report?
- Will I need more tests?
- What are the treatment options for my tonsil cancer?
- What are the benefits and risks of each option?
- Is there one treatment option you recommend over the others?
- What would you recommend to a loved one in my same situation?
- Should I get a second opinion from a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time later to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
Get Mayo Clinic cancer expertise delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe for free and receive an in-depth guide to coping
with cancer, plus helpful information on how to get a second opinion. You can unsubscribe at any
ErrorEmail field is required
ErrorInclude a valid email address
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing
Your in-depth coping with cancer guide will be in your inbox shortly. You will also
receive emails from Mayo Clinic on the latest about cancer news, research, and care.
If you don’t receive our email within 5 minutes, check your SPAM folder, then contact us
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
Jan. 29, 2021