Lymphoid tissue helps protect the body against infection. The throat has three types of tonsils: the pharyngeal tonsil (adenoids) in the back of the throat, the palatine tonsils on the sides of the throat, and the lingual tonsils on the base of the tongue. Cancer of the tonsils usually involves the palatine tonsils on the sides of the throat. Most tonsil cancers are squamous cell carcinomas but some are lymphomas.These cancers are predominantly attributable to infection, which accounts for 77%, 75%, and 100% of cases worldwide, respectively in Russia.
Treatment may have either surgery or radiotherapy to treat early tonsil cancer. Early means a small tumour that is still contained within the tonsil. If you have a cancer that is larger, has grown throughout the tonsil, or has started to grow outside it, you may have surgery followed by radiotherapy. More advanced cancers that have grown outside the tonsil may need shrinking before they can be removed. You may have chemotherapy or radiotherapy or both to try to shrink the cancer. This is called down staging. If the cancer does shrink, you may then be able to have an operation to remove it. Further research is being conducted to determine the best surveillance interval to monitor these cysts.