Patient Comments: Thymoma - Symptoms

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

Comment from: Thymoma Joe, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 19

I had an incessant cough for about three months. Then I had gastrointestinal problems which turned out to be vasculitis. Next was double vision which turned out to be myasthenia gravis. Finally, I started having joint pain which was the result of lupus. A CAT scan and biopsy led to a diagnosis of stage four thymoma which had spread to the pleura on my right lung. I did four rounds of chemotherapy which caused the tumors to shrink considerably. Unfortunately, the main tumor was not dissectible. So I then did ten rounds of radiation. While doing the radiation, I began to have severe shortness of breath. A blood test showed that my hemoglobin had gone down to 6.2. A bone marrow biopsy led to a diagnosis of pure red blood cell aplasia and 8 months of prednisone. Now the aplasia is gone. The main tumor has shrunk considerably thanks to the radiation. And except for a mild case of peripheral neuropathy, I'm feeling pretty good. Now it's all about CAT scans and keeping everything in check.

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