Tonsils are a pair of organs in an area called the oropharynx, at the back of the throat. Your body needs tonsils to fight any infection, but cancer cells can grow there. Therefore, you should be aware of how to diagnose it and give a proper tonsil cancer treatment.
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Diagnosis of Tonsil Cancer
Doctors can use some diagnostic techniques to check and identify cancer cells on the tonsils. The identification will later be used to decide the stage of cancer.
First, the doctors can do a physical exam, including investigating symptoms and signs, and mouth examination. Second, they can do a CT, MRI or PET to do a visual examination. Third, they will take a sample of tissue and test it in the lab.
In the lab, the tissue will be examined by experienced pathologists to determine whether HPV is present or not. They will see the types of cancer cells and their aggressiveness. The result will then help them to decide what kind of treatment you need to undergo.
Tonsil Cancer Treatment
After the lab has released the result of the cancer cell types, doctors may show you some options for treatment. HPV tonsil cancer treatment is often easier to do compared to the non-related to HPV one. Below are some of the individualized treatment plans that can be provided.
Surgery aims to remove the cancer cells as much as possible. It is highly effective for early-stage tonsil cancer, but it is also applicable for higher stages. There are some types of surgery that can be conducted, including open surgery, trans-oral robotic surgery, reconstructive surgery, and trans-oral surgery.
2. Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy aims to kill the cancer cells that have not been removed from the tonsils. How many radiation treatments for tonsil cancer? It will depend on the condition of the patient since if cancer has spread to other organs, it will need more time to kill all the cells.
Chemotherapy uses drugs wisely to kill cancer cells. Most of the time, doctors will require a combination of chemotherapy and radiation to treat the tonsils effectively.
After surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, there is a possibility that the patient will experience tonsil cancer treatment side effects. It can include some problems in speech function and swallowing. Rehabilitation can combine the help of a physical therapist, specialists in swallowing or speech, and dietitians.
5. Targeted Cancer Drugs
Sometimes doctors will ask you to take a monoclonal antibody, such as Cetuximab, or immunotherapy such as Nivolumab. Nivolumab will stimulate the patient’s immune system which is necessary to fight the cancer cells. This medicine is usually prescribed for several months until you are fully recovered.
Those are some crucial information that you need to understand the diagnosis and tonsil cancer treatment. If any symptoms of invasive cancer happen to you, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. They will help you to prevent further development of the cancer cells by choosing the most suitable treatment for you.