Thymoma - Symptoms

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What were the signs and symptoms of thymoma experienced by you, a friend, or family member?

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What are signs and symptoms of thymoma?

Up to 50% of thymomas are asymptomatic, meaning they do not produce any symptoms or signs and are diagnosed when an imaging study is performed for another reason. In other cases, the tumor may cause symptoms related to the size of the tumor and the pressure it exerts on adjacent organs. Chest pain, shortness of breath, and cough are common symptoms when symptoms do occur. Fever, night sweats, and weight loss are less common but may occur. Some cases may spread to the lining of the lungs or heart or even to tissues outside the chest. Less than 7% of cases are accompanied by spread outside the chest cavity. Thymic carcinomas are more aggressive tumors than thymomas and are more likely to spread both locally and distantly (metastasize) and to cause symptoms.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: daisy, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 09

I had a thymoma type B3 diagnosed by fine needle biopsy. And doctor said I need surgery to take out the tumor, for me its resectable (direct removal). Prior to that I lost too much weight, lost appetite, I had oral thrush in my mouth, difficulty of swallowing, fatigue, muscle weakness, was sleepy always, and coughing. Currently I am still waiting for my schedule of operation, it will take probably 5 to 7 days stay in the hospital.

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Comment from: Julianne, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 08

My thymoma was discovered because I asked for an MRI because I had smoked for many years and two friends have lung cancer. They did not find cancer, but did find a 9 cm mass in my chest cavity. After a biopsy and CT/PET scan, they were (mostly) certain it was a thymoma and they cracked my chest to take it out. In retrospect, I had vague pain in my chest and pain/weakness radiating down my left arm from time to time. I had a sharp, stabbing pain in the bottom of my lung if I bent to clip my furthest toe nail. I had no other symptoms. The mass had not invaded any other area. It was encapsulated and was removed entirely. I was in the hospital for about 78 hours, including the surgery. I was off all pain medicines except Tylenol 48 hours post-surgery. The nurses and my husband had me walking at the hospital 48 hours after surgery and every day thereafter. I was able to go out with friends in 8 days. Although facing a cracked chest was frightening, it turns out that because it's not a load-bearing area, not a joint, has few muscles or nerves, it's not such a difficult pain to endure. It stung and sometimes ached, but I could stand it. For a couple of days, it itched like crazy. I took Benadryl. Today I am 4.5 weeks post-surgery, back to work and feeling very good. I was much luckier than some others who have written here, and I share my story just to say that sometimes it's not so bad. I'm very grateful that the thymoma was my only problem (so far as I know), that it was discovered and removed intact and that I was in good health and relatively thin, so the recovery was fairly easy. I hope others have a similar experience.

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