Difficulty swallowing, persistent coughing, chest pain

Mortality Rate

Less than 10%



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Spin, Body and Soul


Anterior mediastinal mass thymoma diagram

A CT Scan of a thymoma (in red) with associated sarcoidosis, courtesy Mohankumar Kurukumbi, Roger L Weir, Janaki Kalyanam, Mansoor Nasim and Annapurni Jayam-Trouth, via Wikipedia

A thymoma is a tumor of the epithelial cells of the thymus gland. They are usually benign, but can have more serious complications such as myasthenia gravis (30-45% of cases), pure red cell aplasia, Addison's disease, Cushing's disease, anemia, arthritis, sarcoidosis, scleraderma and lupus. However, up to half of persons with a thymoma are completely asymptomatic and the thymoma is often found during scans for other conditions. They appear in equal numbers in both men and women, and the typical age of a diagnosed patient is 30-40, with both older and younger patients being at lesser risk.

Thymomas show up readily on a CT Scan, which is used to determine it's size and general shape. A biopsy of the mass is performed for confirmation.

Most thymomas are large and distinct and surgery is a good first choice for treatment. However, if the thymoma is large and invasive, chemotherapy is usually tried first.

Thymoma at Wikipedia

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