Patient Comments: Thymoma - Symptoms

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

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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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: Laurie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 21

I had a thymoma removed and this May will be my 5 year checkup. My only symptoms were a heartbeat that I could feel in my throat which later proved to be a benign irregular heart beat called a first beat, and 3 bouts of bronchitis in 4 months. That's when my primary care doctor ordered a chest x-ray. It was not thymic carcinoma thankfully, but it was large and there was no separation on the CAT scan of the tumor between my heart and lungs. I did 3 rounds of chemotherapy which shrunk it greatly and then the surgery to remove. Very fortunate and surgeon said if not discovered when it was and the tumor attached to my heart and or lungs, I would have been in big trouble. No MG (myasthenia gravis), no re-growth so far as well and happy to report I am doing great. Looking forward to celebrating that 5 year anniversary! My very best wishes to anyone going through this. It was not easy and was very scary stuff, but you do what you have to do.

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Comment from: Carol R, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 10

I lost my voice. I was sent to an ear, nose and throat specialist who couldn't detect a problem so sent me for voice therapy. All was going well until I lost my voice again. The therapist checked and discovered that my left vocal cord was paralyzed. I was then sent for a CT scan where they discovered the tumor which was pressing on a nerve which was attached to my vocal cord. A biopsy revealed a thymoma. My surgeon said it was too close to my aorta for surgery so I had three rounds of chemotherapy and 5 weeks of radiation. The tumor shrunk a lot. They now feel that what is left is scar tissue. That was 4 1/2 years ago.

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Comment from: Journey 2, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: October 27

I feel it important to point out that I had no other symptoms at all other than an unexplained bruise in the center of my chest. As this did not go with time I had chest x-ray, and it was diagnosed as thymoma in 2010. Due to the tumor's location surgery was not an option, so I underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy early 2011. I had no problem with chemotherapy, and the radiotherapy caused problems for a short while with pain when swallowing, but this eased after a month or so. My thymoma has remained stable since then and I undergo regular six monthly scans and oncology reviews. I hope this is of benefit to others.

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Thymoma - Diagnosis Question: Please describe how thymoma was diagnosed.
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