Janice’s tonsil cancer was caused by a virus she had 30 years ago. And more surprising still … she doesn’t even have any tonsils
Janice Atkinson an independent MEP for South East England initially thought the pea-sized swelling that developed on the left side of her neck last summer was no more than a swollen gland — a sign of an impending cold or sore throat.
But, unusually for a swollen gland, it wasn’t sore and, two weeks after it appeared, it was getting bigger.
Alwyn d’Souza, an ear, nose and throat surgeon at University Hospital Lewisham, who treated Janice privately, says, ‘I do see cases where I think, “How did this not get picked up until now?”
‘That’s not necessarily due to a GP not spotting it,’ he adds. ‘It might be patients not getting their symptoms checked.
I saw a dreadful case recently where a man had a huge swelling in his neck — it was so big it was making him breathless — but he didn’t seek medical advice before because he was scared.’
In rare cases, left untreated, the cancer can spread to the liver or lungs, when it is harder to treat.
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