Oncology (General Cancer)/Tonsil


My right tonsil I noticed looks really white all of a sudden. I am not sure if its due to trauma but I do know its not always looked this way. Does this look like anything concerning? Would you consider this leukoplakia? Or is this normal tonsil tissue? Should I consult my doctor if this remains? Thanks.

Right tonsil white area


ANSWER: Give it a little time before you worry.  It might just be a plugged mucus duct, or maybe you are coming down with a little local infection there.  If it gets worse, then of course see a doctor.  It is not leucoplakia, but something (probably benign) is happening.  The tonsil has numerous "crypts" which can sometimes plug up and then you get some local swelling until they unplug from the pressure.  That's what i think is going on if there isn't any pain.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I tend to get tonsil stones a lot do I push on my tonsil to get the out. One rind my finger slipped and it done what cut the tonsil leaving a lot of pain and a sore which eventually went away. Could this white area be a scar or caused from trauma from pushing on the tonsil? His long should I give it to resolve before I see my doctor? Would anything dangerous say like cancer appear this way?

This could be a scar -- the picture isn't clear enough for me to decide.  Yes, the swelling could be cancer, but I think unlikely, which is why I suggested you wait a little before seeing a doctor.  If you are a smoker, or chew tobacco, you should stop.  Hope this helps.  

Oncology (General Cancer)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Donald Higby, M.D.


I can answer almost all questions related to the treatment and natural course of most kinds of cancer, especially cancers of prostate, colon, lung and breast.


I have been a practicing medical oncologist for 36 years, and have been chief of service at a major medical center for 25 years. I've also done research in cancer treatments.

American Society of Clinical Oncology

New England Journal of Medicine American Journal of Medicine Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Hematology Transfusion Medicine

MD, Stanford University Internal Medicine residency, St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO Medical Oncology Fellowship, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY

Awards and Honors
America's Best Physicians, last 14 years

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.