Thymus cancer treatment

We found 22 clinics & 43 doctors for Thymus cancer Worldwide. AiroMedical ranks among 437 hospitals based on qualification, experience, success rate, and awards.

The condition when healthy lymphatic cells become cancerous and grow out of control is called thymus cancer. Imaging methods (CT, MRI, and PET) detect the lump, but sometimes a biopsy might be required. Mainly, surgical resection of the tumour is the primary treatment method. Radiation, immuno-, targeted- and chemotherapy are used in the following stages.

Thymus cancer is the growth of abnormal cells with the possibility of spreading throughout the body. It is a rare condition formed by the lymphoid gland in the chest behind the sternum. The disease is classified as:

  • Thymoma is a benign and slowly growing lump that usually does not metastasise (spreading).
  • Thymic carcinoma - aggressive mutated thymus cells with further spread and malignant growth.
  • Thymic neuroendocrine tumour - rare tumours of the thymus.

Tumours of the thymus are pretty rare. However, thymomas predominate among thymus cancers - 80-90% of cases. In addition, among all cancers, it occupies 1.5%.

The neoplasm is often incidentally discovered before it causes any signs. However, if the tumour is not detected in the early stages, it can be related to the following symptoms:

  • Symptoms of nearby structures compression: chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite and weight.
  • Symptoms of central veins compression: headaches, dizziness, swelling of the neck veins, face and chest, headaches.

Often, autoimmune diseases develop against the background of thymus cancer, such as myasthenia gravis, red cell aplasia, hypogammaglobulinemia, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and others.

The first and proper treatment method is surgery. Doctors perform a thymectomy - removal of the tumour along with the thymus and nearby affected structures. Usually, only surgical treatment can cure the disease completely. External beam radiation therapy treats thymus neoplasms after an operation or when surgery is impossible. Depending on the type of tumour and the results of previous treatments, chemotherapy may be given before or after surgery and sometimes in combination with radiation therapy. Numerous modern, more targeted methods are available for chemotherpay application, e.g. local chemotherpay or chemoembolisation. Drug therapy is also an additional treatment option. These are targeted hormonal and immunotherapy.

The prognosis after thymectomy depends on the type of tumour but is generally favourable. The 5-year survivorship for thymus cancer is 80%. Such high numbers are possible thanks to modern approaches for thymus surgery in thoracic centres.

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3 countries and 12 cities for Thymus cancer