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Is tonsil cancer often overlooked?

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Sore throats, raspy voices and dry coughs are all considered minor ailments. Most people tend to brush them away or take antibiotics. You rarely make a trip to the ER in Massachusetts because of a raspy voice or a sore throat. But what happens when these are signs and symptoms of something more sinister like tonsil cancer? Sadly, tonsil cancer is often overlooked.

Signs of tonsil cancer

Presenting symptoms are usually similar to symptoms of other infections, so it’s easy to misdiagnose tonsil cancer. It is a type of oropharyngeal cancer, so it is often misdiagnosed for other types of head and neck cancers.

Furthermore, it is a relatively rare form of cancer. Here are some common symptoms of tonsil cancer:

  • A sore throat that doesn’t seem to go away
  • A red or whitish patch on the tonsil
  • Persistent earache
  • Difficulty eating citrus foods such as lemons
  • Presence of blood in saliva
  • Difficulty swallowing

Unfortunately, most people don’t know the risk factors of tonsil cancers. Knowledge of these factors can help prevent and detect this disease as early as possible.

Risk factors of tonsil cancer

Many factors increase the risk of tonsil cancer. For instance, environmental factors such as high alcohol and tobacco intake increase the risk of tonsil cancer. If you are a frequent smoker, it’s time to quit.

Secondly, people living with viruses such as HPV and HIV are more likely to get tonsil cancer. This, however, doesn’t mean that if you have these viruses, you automatically get tonsil cancer.

Diagnosis and misdiagnosis

Tonsil diagnosis involves lab tests, laryngoscopy, imaging tests and biopsies. These procedures are painful, and they sometimes fail to give an accurate diagnosis. Being misdiagnosed after going through such a process can be traumatic.

After diagnosis, if there are any cancer cells in your tonsils, treatment can begin immediately. There are several treatment options for tonsil cancer depending on the extent and stage. Your doctor may suggest surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Tonsil cancer is often misdiagnosed. This is disheartening because cancer treatment is often lengthy, costly and painful. It is worth mentioning that a lot of medical malpractice suits stem from misdiagnosis. If your doctor failed to diagnose your tonsil cancer in time for effective treatment, you may want to ask an attorney whether your case qualifies as malpractice.