What are possible causes of a growing lump on the tonsil?

Doctor's Answers (3)

Most of the lumps I have removed from tonsils have returned on excision biopsy as fibrous or chronically inflamed tonsillar tissue. Occasionally, it turns out to be viral warts. These are not dangerous lumps.

However, as your tonsil lump has been growing in size, and is also one sided, I would advise removal of the lump as we have no other way of excluding the low possibility of a cancer type of lump. 

If you do not remove the lump, you need to monitor it very closely; my patients have found that more stressful than the removal of the lump in the longer term! Some removal can be in the clinic with you awake. However, if the lump is in a difficult to reach place of the tonsil or with a large base, a removal under a short anaesthetic may be better.

Kind regards,

Dr Lynne Lim

Oh dear, that does sound rather worrying to have a lump growing bigger on your tonsil!

Most tonsil lumps tend to be benign however, such as an area of infection, scarred tissue for even a tonsil stone. It’s a pity you don’t have a photo for us to take a look at.

But in view of its enlarging size and the fact that is is just on one side, I would strongly advise you to have it thoroughly checked out by an ENT specialist. Rarely, tonsil lumps may turn out to be more sinister in nature, such as lymphoma (lymph gland cancer) or squamous cell cancer (linked to smoking and Human Papilloma Virus exposure).

You haven’t really told us much about any other associated symptoms like a sore throat or difficulty swallowing when eating your food. Unexplained weight loss, fevers and night sweats are also symptoms to be concerned about.

Please go have it checked out urgently by an ENT specialist who will likely need to perform a nasal endoscopy to examine the full nose, throat and airway areas, conduct blood tests, and possibly a scan.


This would depend on what sort of lump is this. In general, all lumps in the body should be investigated. Tonsil cancer is not common but possible. A minor salivary gland tumour is also not common but possible. Please consult a doctor as soon as possible.

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