These are conditions that are related to the cancer but that are not caused directly by the tumor mass.
- This is by far the most common autoimmune disease associated with thymomas.
- This causes severe muscle weakness.
- People with MG tire easily.
- They may notice problems climbing stairs or walking long distances.
- Weakness of the eye muscles can cause blurred or double vision and drooping eyelids, while weak neck muscles can lead to problems with swallowing.
- Weakness of the chest muscles and diaphragm can cause problems breathing and shortness of breath.
Red Cell Aplasia:
- The body’s ability to make new red blood cells is severely reduced, occurs in about 5% of thymoma patients.
- Reduced red blood cell production causes anemia (low red blood cell counts).
- Symptoms of anemia can include weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, and tiring easily.
- The usual treatment is to remove the thymus gland.
- The body makes low amounts of infection-fighting antibodies (also known as gamma globulins).
- This leaves the person susceptible to infections.
- About 5% to 10% of thymoma patients develop hypogammaglobulinemia.
- Removing the thymus does not help correct this disease.
Other Autoimmune Diseases: Many other autoimmune diseases have also been linked to thymoma.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Ulcerative colitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjogren (Sjögren) syndrome