• Should I be concerned with having my tonsils removed without being treated with radiation first. Do I risk it spreading?

    Asked by cloey on Saturday, January 12, 2013

    Should I be concerned with having my tonsils removed without being treated with radiation first. Do I risk it spreading?

    Several websites indicated that throat cancer tumors should be radiated prior to removal. While my doctor believes the cancer is in my tonsils I haven't had them biopsyd, I've only had a PET scan. Anyone else who has gone through this please share how your surgery was handled.

    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Usually when chemo or radiation is given prior to surgery, it is usually to shrink a cancerous tumor to allow for a better prognosis of surgical removal with clear margins when the cancer involves a tissue mass or organ that either can't be completely removed or doing so would create other medical issue such as with colon or rectal cancer or lung cancer. There is no benefit to only removing part of your tonsils, so there is no benefit to shrinking a tumor inside your tonsils prior to surgery and removing them will not cause cancer to spread. Their removal will be your biopsy.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      I agree with Nancy, in this case your tonsils can be removed cleanly and at that time they can see what is going on with the cancer. The less radiation in that area the better off you are from a side affect view.
      Remember when doing research that treatments have been getting much more pinpointed by leaps and bounds in the last few years. I find that treatments that were standard a couple years ago are now changed. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your doctor, the more you know the more comfortable you are. Take care, Tracy

      almost 5 years ago
    • planogirl60's Avatar

      I was diagnosed in 2004 with Stage IV Tonsil cancer. It was in my right tonsil and It had spread to the lymph nodes by the time it was found. I had surgery to remove the tonsils first. That was the end of August. After that healed, I had a feeding tube put it (I highly recommend this). After that healed. I had to see my dentist to make sure everything was in good shape with my teeth. Then I had a few appointments (can't remember how many) in radiation to be fitted with the mask. It was the end of September or the first part of October before I started Chemo and radiation. 8 + years later I'm still here with no recurrence (sp?). Don't know if this helps, but it's my story.

      almost 5 years ago
    • BLBragg's Avatar

      First, it is good news that have found your primary site. My husband had base of tongue stage IVa cancer which spread to his lymph node. His biopsy removed much of the tumor on his tongue and then the chemo and radiation destroyed the rest. He had IMRT radiation which accurately pinpoints the area to be radiated with less damage to the surrounding tissue. Doctors have a comprehensive set of guidelines distributed by te NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) these guidelines determine treatment. You are doing everything right, just keep asking questions of your doctors and find out your options. For example, they wanted to give my husband three large doses of chemotherapy, but we found out he could have 6 smaller doses instead. He is almost 2 years cancer free. Hope this helps you :)

      almost 5 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Hi Cloey, I had the same situation. My primarty site was right tonsil, it was taken out before anything else was done. The removal isn't going to make anything spread, so don't worry about that.

      almost 5 years ago

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