The human body has 3 types of tonsils:
- Pharyngeal tonsil (adenoids) in the back of the throat
- Lingual tonsils on the base of the tongue
- Palatine tonsils on the sides of the throat
Cancer can affect any of the 3 types of tonsils, but it most often happens in the palatine tonsils. It is usually squamous cell cancer (cancer that only affects the top layer of the tissue), but it can also be a lymphoma (cancer that affects the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell).