The thymus gland is located underneath our breastbone/sternum in the chest. It is an important component of our body’s immune system. The thymus gland produces and help in maturation of lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that assist our body in fighting illnesses. This gland can also undergo malignant /cancer transformation.
Thymus cancer is divided into two types: thymoma and thymic carcinoma, both of which are uncommon. Cancer develops when cancer cells sprout on the thymus’s outer surface. Thymic carcinoma is a kind of thymoma that is more aggressive and difficult to cure than the thymoma. Type C thymoma is another name for thymic cancer. Thymoma patients may at times also have an autoimmune condition, such as myasthenia gravis, which can be acquired.
Let’s look at its symptoms
This cancer is frequently discovered by unrelated medical testing or examinations. A chronic cough, breathing difficulties, chest discomfort, difficulty in swallowing, loss of appetite and, or weight loss are all possible signs. Diagnosis is usually delayed, reason being the vague nature of the symptoms.
Diagnosis of Thymus Cancer
A general physical examination is performed to discover whether any odd findings, such as lumps, are present. Thymus cancer is diagnosed using a variety of tests, including:
- X-ray of the chest
- PET scans, CT scans, and MRIs are examples of imaging tests.
- Fine Needle Biopsy of thymus gland/tumour with microscopic examination
A staging system is a way of categorizing cancer according to its growth, extent, and other features, and is a must before planning for the treatment.
Thymus cancer is staged using the TNM staging method, which divides the illness into four stages based on tumour size (T), lymph nodal spread (N), and the presence of metastasis (M) which means that the cancer has also its footings in other areas of the body.
Stage 1 is non-invasive, however stage 4 indicates that the cancer has progressed to other distant organs such as the liver and kidneys.
The degree of the disease, as indicated by its stage, as well as the general health of the patient determines treatment.
What are the treatments of Thymus Cancer?
Depending on the stage of the disease, there are defined therapies for thymus cancer. A treatment plan may contain many types or combination of therapies.
Surgery is the most effective technique to eradicate cancer, and it is used to remove the tumour, thymus gland, or other sick tissues whenever feasible. But it by itself as a standalone treatment is only possible in early disease only.
If the cancer is too big or has gone too far to be entirely removed, your doctor may suggest using radiation to reduce the tumour first, followed by surgery. They may also choose to remove as much cancer as feasible before moving on to a different therapy strategy.
Before or after surgery, radiation or chemotherapy might be needed: High-energy X-rays are used to destroy cancer cells by destroying their DNA.
In chemotherapy, medications are used to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy medications are frequently administered intravenously (via a vein), allowing the treatment to travel throughout the body and destroy cancer cells that have migrated to other parts.
Hormone therapy is another option for thymus cancer treatment. Some hormones cause cancer to develop, and if your cancer has hormone receptors (places for hormones to connect), medications to prevent hormone activity on cancer cells may be prescribed.
Because thymus cancer is so uncommon, you should inquire with your doctor about participating in a clinical study. These are tests in which innovative technologies are put to the test. Participants are continuously monitored and have the option to withdraw from the study at any time. Clinical trials aren’t for everyone, but your doctor or lung surgeon in Delhi or nearby place can tell you if they are suitable for you.
Hence, make sure to see the lung surgeon in Delhi or nearby place possible for effective treatment and proper medication.