Your thymus gland is an organ that sits behind your breastbone in a space known as the anterior mediastinum. It is part of the lymph system and early in life, it helps with your immune system.
A thymoma is an abnormal growth of the cells in thymus gland. It is slow growing, however, it can spread to other organs and therefore is classified as a cancer. Thymoma is the most common cancer of the anterior mediastinum.
Thymomas are linked with autoimmune disorders including Myasthenia Gravis. In fact, 10 to 15 percent of the patients with Myasthenia Gravis, a neuromuscular disorder, have a thymoma and 30 to 45 percent of patients with thymomas have Myasthenia Gravis. In young adults (<40 years of age), Myasthenia Gravis is more common in women. Other autoimmune disorders include Hypogammaglobulinemia, Polymyositis, Lupus Erythematosus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Thyroiditis, Sjogren Syndrome.
Diagnosis & treatment
CT Scans, PET Scans, Pulmonary function test (PFTS), and ECHO cardiogram may all be used for evaluating a thymoma. Depending on the stage, a thymoma can be treated with surgery alone or it may need multi-modality therapy.
At White Plains Hospital, we have a dedicated thoracic staff which includes board-certified thoracic surgeons and anesthesiologists as well as well-trained floor nurses, and physical and respiratory therapists. Chemotherapy and radiation may also be recommended if your thymoma has spread to other organs or beyond its capsule. Neurologists are involved for patients who require a surgery and have Myasthenia Gravis.