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A 33-year-old female asked:

how do you tell the difference between tonsil stones and tonsil cancer?

3 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Donald Colantino
Internal Medicine 61 years experience
Tonsil stones: Tonsil stones are white objects within tonsillar crypts and don't ulcerate,change in size and don't cause symptoms. If there's any doubt an examination by a physician or Otolaryngologist would be definitive.
Dr. James Okamoto
Family Medicine 29 years experience
Stones come out: Good question! Tonsil stones are hard and lodge in the tonsils but can be dislodged - they are not attached to the tonsil tissue. Usually light yellow in color. Tonsil cancer is can vary from fleshy to firm in consistency and color can also vary for pink to red and shades of yellow. It cannot be dislodged because it is growing out of the tissue itself. Risk factors are smoking and alcohol, & HPV.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Try removing it: Use a water pick or some other tool. A tonsillolith shells out free.

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Last updated Apr 27, 2018

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