Tonsil cancer may have one or more symptoms, including:
- A sore in the back of the mouth that will not heal
- Tonsil is larger on one side
- Blood in the saliva
- Mouth pain
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking
- Persistent sore throat
- Intolerance to eating or drinking citrus foods
- Severe ear pain
- Lump or pain in the neck
- Pain when swallowing
- Bad breath
Causes and Risk Factors
Men are diagnosed with tonsil cancer three to four times more often than women. People are generally diagnosed at age 50 or older but it can develop at any age. The most significant risk factors for tonsil cancers are tobacco and alcohol use, including smokeless tobacco (snuff and betel nut).
Other potential causes include people with certain infections or decreased immunity, such as:
- Exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV), especially strains 16 and 18.
- Organ transplant recipients
- People with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease
There are no accepted general risk factors or causes for lymphoma.