Tonsil cancer is one of several serious cancers that can affect a person’s throat and mouth. The National Institute of Health reports that incidences of tonsil cancer are on the rise. One explanation for this increase is an association between a diagnosis of tonsil cancer and the human papillomavirus, which is also on the rise. Health experts in New York are paying close attention to all the developments regarding the disease.
The tonsils are lymphoid tissue located at the back of the throat. They are a component of the immune system and work to protect the body from viruses and bacteria that seek entry through the mouth.
Tonsil cancer is much easier to treat when diagnosed early in its progression. When treatment is delayed due to a misdiagnosis of acute tonsillitis, full recovery becomes less likely for a patient and may constitute medical malpractice.
Misdiagnosis caught when symptoms progress
Early symptoms of tonsil cancer can mimic those of tonsillitis. When physicians fail to investigate the possibility of cancer, the cancer can then spread and develop to a stage that is harder to treat. A few symptoms that may indicate a more serious diagnosis include:
- Long-lasting sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Tonsil discoloration
- A sore located at the back of the throat
- Persistent earaches
- Saliva that contains blood
- Weight loss
Individuals who experience one or more of these symptoms for longer than two weeks should make an appointment to see a doctor.
Risk factors present in wider demographic
There was a time when most tonsil case diagnoses involved men who were 50 years of age or older. However, tonsil cancer patients who are also HPV-positive tend to be a little younger and include members of both sexes.
Other risk factors include excessive alcohol consumption and the use of tobacco products.
Tonsil cancer is like other forms of the disease in that a proper diagnosis early in the process can make all the difference in a person’s health prospects. When an improper diagnosis causes harm to a patient, compensation may be in order. Patients who have suffered due to a misdiagnosis or another mistake may benefit from speaking with a medical malpractice attorney.