The tonsils are a pair of soft tissue pads at the back of the throat, and their purpose is to capture and destroy bacteria and viruses that enter the mouth. The cells inside the tissues, known as lymphocytes, are able to fight disease. What residents of New York should know is that the tonsils can develop cancerous cells. Cancer patients can even include those who had their tonsils removed since not all the tissue is removed.
Though tonsil cancer is rare, the National Institutes of Health says that cases are on the rise. The major reason is the rise in human papillomavirus infections as HPV infections are a contributing factor to tonsil cancer.
Other risk factors in tonsil cancer
Smokers and heavy drinkers are more likely to suffer from tonsil cancer. Untreated HIV is another factor because it raises the risk for an HPV infection. When it comes to HPV-positive patients with tonsil cancer, a great number are young and do not smoke. In the past, tonsil cancer patients tended to be males over 50 years old.
Diagnosing it and having it treated
It can be hard to diagnose tonsil cancer in its early stages. Symptoms usually appear once the cancer has spread, and they include a chronic sore throat, trouble chewing and swallowing, and a sore and a lump at the back of the throat. One may also spit up blood, lose weight for no apparent reason and have an aching ear.
If these symptoms continue for over two weeks, one should definitely see a doctor. For advanced tonsil cancer, the most frequently used treatment is some combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Doctors may surgically remove the cancerous tissue, too.
Representation for misdiagnosed patients
Though tonsil cancer is rare, this cannot excuse every instance when a patient receives an incorrect or delayed diagnosis. Sometimes, it’s medical malpractice that leads to a diagnostic error. If you were the victim of negligence, you may want to talk to a lawyer about your options moving forward. A lawyer may be helpful when it comes to achieving a settlement with the other side.