What is Thymoma?
A thymoma is a type of thymus tumor or growth. It can behave in a benign fashion and is said to be non-invasive. It can behave in a malignant or cancerous fashion and is said to be malignant. A small percentage are frankly malignant and are called thymic carcinomas. Thymic tumors are uncommon.
Causes of Thymoma
The exact cause of thymomas is not known. Thymomas are slightly more common in men than in women and are most frequently seen in persons between the ages of 40 and 60. There are no known risk factors that predispose a person to developing thymoma.
Symptoms of Thymoma
People with thymoma may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with thymoma do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be another medical condition that is not cancer.
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- Muscle weakness
- Drooping eyelids
- Double vision
- Arm or facial swelling
- Difficulty swallowing
- Anemia, which is a low red blood cell count
- Frequent infections
Diagnosis of Thymoma
The following tests and procedures may be used:
- Physical exam and history : An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
- Chest x-ray: An x-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest. An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
- CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, such as the chest, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, such as the chest. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
- PET scan (positron emission tomography scan): A procedure to find malignant tumor cells in the body. A small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein. The PET scanner rotates around the body and makes a picture of where glucose is being used in the body. Malignant tumor cells show up brighter in the picture because they are more active and take up more glucose than normal cells do.
Treatment of Thymoma
The treatment for thymoma is primarily surgical removal. The success of surgical treatment depends upon the particular characteristics of the tumor and its precise location; tumors that can be completely removed have a higher surgical cure rate. If all evidence of disease is unable to be removed and microscopic, or gross or macroscopic tumor remains after surgery, then radiation therapy and chemotherapy have been used as an adjunct to surgical resection. Chemotherapy is generally used for metastatic thymoma and thymoma that cannot be grossly surgically removed.
By : Natural Health News