Thymus cancer is also known as malignant thymoma or thymic cancer. It is a slow-growing cancer. It occurs when the thymus gland cells start growing abnormally and form tumors. Every 1 in 1.5 million people are affected by thymus cancer.
Types of Thymus Cancer
The two main types of thymus cancer are:
- Thymoma: Thymoma develops in the thymus epithelial cells. It is believed to be associated with neuromuscular conditions like myasthenia gravis.
- Thymic cancer: This cancer is more difficult to treat than thymoma due to its aggressiveness. Thymic cancer is normally diagnosed at an advanced stage.
Symptoms of Thymus Cancer
HCG Manavata is one of the best hospitals for thymus cancer treatment in Nashik. It will help determine the presence of thymus cancer or other conditions. Some of the general symptoms of thymus cancer are:
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Pain and pressure in the chest
- Drooping of eyelids
- Double vision
- Experiencing weakness in muscles.
- Swelling in face and arms.
- Chest pain
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Causes of Thymus Cancer
The exact cause of thymus cancer is still unknown, but some factors are believed to increase the risk of developing thymus cancer:-
- Having an autoimmune disorder
- Inflammation of the thyroid gland
Diagnosis of Thymus Cancer
The doctor diagnoses thymus cancer through the following techniques:
- Physical examination: The doctor would do a comprehensive physical examination of the thymus gland. It is done to check for abnormalities like swelling or pain in the thymus gland.
- Medical history check: The doctor may ask for the complete and detailed history of the patient, like health, illness, and any previous record of the hospitalization.
- Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as CT scans, x-rays, MRI scans, and PET scans can be recommended by doctors. Imaging tests are done to find any suspicious tumor that can be cancerous and to check the area where cancer has spread.
- Biopsy: It involves extracting a tissue sample from the thymus by aspiration using a fine needle and sending the sample for further analysis. It is usually done through FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology).
Treatment of Thymus Cancer
HCG Manavata Cancer Center is one of the best Thymus Cancer hospitals in Nashik. Some of the treatment options for thymus cancer are:
Surgery: Surgery is the most common treatment for thymus cancer. After removing all the cancer cells, the patient may be given radiation therapy to kill the remaining cancer cells.
Radiation therapy: In this therapy, the doctor uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. External radiation therapy uses a machine that delivers the radiation to the targeted site. Internal radiation therapy, also known as brachytherapy, involves placing the radiation seeds near or in the tumor to kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses medicines to kill and control the growth of cancerous cells. Chemotherapy may shrink the cancerous cells either before the surgery or before the radiation therapy.
Hormone therapy: The doctor may also include hormone therapy in the treatment plan for thymus cancer if the tests indicate that there are sites of attachment of the hormones on the cancerous cells. The doctor may prescribe drugs that prevent the synthesis of hormones or stop access to hormones.
Targeted therapy: In targeted therapy, the drugs target the cellular processes specific to cancerous cells. In this method, the healthy cells are not harmed, like chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Immunotherapy: This method uses the immune system of the patient to fight cancerous cells. Different immune modulator drugs are used to increase and boost the immune defense of the body. Immunotherapy also interferes in synthesizing substances by cancer cells that help them hide from the immune system.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do age and ethnicity affect the risk of thymus cancer?
Age: The risk of thymus cancer increases as the age of the person increases. Thymus cancer is very rare in children. Most often, it is seen in middle-aged people. It most commonly affects people aged 70 or above.
Ethnicity: Thymus cancer is more common in Asians and Pacific Islanders, and it is least common in Whites and Latinos.
What increases the chances of thymus cancer?
The chances of developing thymus cancer are increased if you have any of the following medical conditions:-
- Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland)
- Myasthenia gravis (weakness and fatigue of muscles)
- Polymyositis (inflammatory disease that causes weakness in muscles)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory disease of the joint)
Which doctor should I contact for thymus cancer?
Thymus cancer is managed by a team of doctors. The team may include the following personnel:
- Thoracic surgeon (A doctor who is specialized in chest surgery)
- Radiation oncologist (A doctor who specializes in treating cancer using radiation therapy)
- A medical oncologist (the doctor who treats cancer using medicines, e.g., chemotherapy)
- Pulmonologist (A doctor having expertise in treating lung conditions)
- Neurologist (A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating medical conditions related to nerves and the brain)
What are the chances of survival in thymus cancer?
The stage and 5-year survival rates of thymus cancer are as follows.
- Localized stage: 95%
- Regional stage: 78%
- Distant stage: 38%
- Combined stages: 71%