Thymoma presents with the following signs and symptoms:
Entire Body System
Primary localized amyloidosis presenting as an isolated mediastinal mass is extremely rare, especially in the thymus. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
The clinical characteristics of thymoma and the outcomes of video-assisted thoracoscopic thymectomy in Vietnamese patients are still lacking. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Abstract A 21-year-old boy presented with high grade fever, diffuse chest pain and exertional breathlessness of one month duration. Radiologically he had a large lobulated anterior mediastinal mass with necrotic thick enhancing septaes. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Thymoma Symptom Chest Pain There are many causes of chest pain. A serious form of chest pain is angina, which is a symptom of heart disease and results from inadequate oxygen supply to the heart muscle. [medicinenet.com]
A preliminary physical examination will be done to diagnose thymoma. In addition, the following procedures would be used to arrive at a definitive conclusion:
- Imaging studies such as CT scan is carried out to determine the size and the location of the tumor lesion. MRI scans are also done to measure the size of the tumor. Positron emission tomography (PET) is a method that is employed for studying the internal organs and tissues . In this method, a radioactive sugar substance is inserted into the body which is actively used by the tumor cells. With the help of the scanner, the images of those cells which have absorbed the substance can be detected.
- Biopsy is used for determining the nature of the tumor cells.
We report a case of a 57-year-old male who presented an anterior mediastinal mass suspicious of thymoma by chest computed tomography. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Anterior Mediastinal Mass
Radiologically he had a large lobulated anterior mediastinal mass with necrotic thick enhancing septaes. Histopathology of the mass was suggestive of thymoma and culture from the necrotic aspirate yielded Salmonella typhi. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
A multidisciplinary approach will be employed for treating thymoma . The major goal of treatment would be to remove the malignant tumor and take steps to avoid recurrence of the cancer. The following are the various types of method employed for treating thymoma:
- Surgery is often the first line of treatment employed for removal of the tumor from the organ. When the cancer has spread to the neighboring organs, efforts are made to remove as much tumor as possible. This method is known as debulking surgery . Thoracic surgery may be performed with the use of video guided thoracoscopy for a more precise excision of the thymoma .
- Radiation therapy may be employed after surgery or along with chemotherapy. In conditions, when the size of the tumor cells is large, radiation therapy is given prior to surgery to shrink the size. Following this, the tumor can easily be removed .
- Chemotherapy .
- Coricosteroids have been sparingly used to facilitate tumor regression in some cases .
The prognosis of the disease depends on the stage at which the cancer was diagnosed and age of the individual. With appropriate initiation of treatment regime, the patient can live for several years. However, the prognosis is usually bad for patients who have been diagnosed when the disease has reached advanced stage. Multivariate analysis of thymoma survival rate reaches 5 to 10 years on the average in all stages .
The most debilitating complication of thymoma is metastasis of the tumor. When the tumor spreads to other organs of the body it gives rise to various other secondary conditions. Thymoma may spread to the superior vena cava to cause obstructive signs in patients . In addition, individuals affected by thymoma also have to experience the unpleasant side effects of cancer treatment.
- Red cell aplasia
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Cushing syndrome
- Inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone syndrome
- Neuromuscular disorder such as myasthenia gravis 
Thymoma is a rare occurrence and accounts for 1% of tumors that originate in the thymus. Individuals between 40 – 60 years fall easy prey to this disease; however reports document that a cancer of this type can strike individuals at any age. It has been estimated that about 15% of patients with myasthenia gravis develop thymoma.
Thymus consists of 2 types of cells, epithelial and lymphocytes. Thymoma occurs when cells originate in the epithelial cells of the organ. When these cells begin to grow in an uncontrollable fashion, a tumor is formed. In rare cases, thymoma may spread to other parts of the body. In case when it does, the pleura is affected. When the tumor develops, it precipitates into the following stages:
- Stage I: The tumor is located in the organ and a capsule covers it.
- Stage II: The tumor invades the capsule and spreads to neighboring fatty tissues.
- Stage III: Cancer begins spreading to other parts of the body.
- Stage IVA: Cancer has affected the lungs.
- Stage IVB: Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and blood vessels.
Thymoma cannot be prevented; however, steps can be taken to prevent the progression of the disease and its recurrence. Once the individuals receive treatment for cancer, they are advised to regularly follow up with their health care provider. Regular scans and tests should be done to determine any fresh tumor growth. This would help timely initiation of treatment and prevent the onset of complications as well.
Thymoma is a neoplasm of the epithelial cells lining the thymus. The thymus is a small organ that is located beneath the sternum. This organ is a part of the lymphatic system responsible for producing white blood cells and protecting the body against infections.
Tumor originating from the surface of the organ hampers its original functioning paving way for development of serious life threatening complications. The tumor cells of thymoma mimic normal cells and in rare cases spread to other organs.
Thymoma is a rare form of cancer originating from the surface of the thymus organ. This organ is located beneath the breastbone and plays a vital role in production of white blood cells along with the lymphatic system.
The exact cause behind the development of thymoma still remains a mystery. Researchers have documented that thymoma can occur as a result of several disease conditions such as myasthenia gravis, red cell aplasia, Cushing syndrome, dermatomyositis and systemic lupus erythematous.
Imaging studies such as CT scan, MRI and PET scan form the preliminary diagnostic procedures. These provide information about the size and location of the tumor. Following this, biopsy of the tumor is carried out to study its nature.
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- Konstantinov IE, Saxena P, Koniuszko M, Ghosh S, Low VH, Khor TS, et al. Superior Vena Cava Obstruction by Tumour Thrombus in Invasive Thymoma: Diagnosis and Surgical Management. Heart Lung Circ. Apr 9 2007.
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- Barratt S, Puthucheary ZA, Plummeridge M. Complete regression of a thymoma to glucocorticoids, commenced for palliation of symptoms. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. Jun 2007; 31(6):1142-3.