Thymoma: Learn the Staging, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Chances of Recovery of this Cancer


Thymoma is a tumor originating from the thymus gland. It is an uncommon tumor, best known for its association with Myasthenia Gravis. Our team at Centre for Chest Surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has India’s largest experience in removal of Thymoma’s by Robotic Surgery, VATS or Open surgery.

Staging of Thymoma

The most commonly used staging system for thymoma is called the Masaoka system, and it classifies thymoma into the following stages:

  • Stage I: Thymoma is located only in the thymus.
  • Stage II: Thymoma has spread into fat surrounding the thymus or into the lining of the lung next to the tumour.
  • Stage III: Thymoma has spread to other organs near the thymus, such as the lung, blood vessels, and the lining around the heart, called pericardium.
  • Stage IVA: Thymoma has spread more extensively into the lining of the lung or the pericardium.
  • Stage IVB: the Thymoma has spread to organs further away from the thymus, or has spread through the vessels carrying blood or lymph.

Symptoms for Thymoma:

  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Muscle weakness
  • Drooping of eyelids
  • Double vision
  • Arm or facial swelling
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Frequent infections
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Diagnosis of Thymoma:

Following tests and procedures may be used for diagnosis of Thymoma:

  • Chest x-ray
  • CT scan
  • PET scan
  • CT Guided Biopsy

The Chances of recovery :

It depends upon the following factors

  • The stage of Thymoma
  • The type of Thymoma
  • Whether the tumor can be removed completely by surgery.
  • The patient’s general health.
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).

Treatment of Thymoma:

Surgery is the only curative treatment as the baseline attempt in ‘Thymoma Treatment’. The success ratio of Thymoma Surgery are dependent upon the stages of the Thymoma Cancer. In Early stages of Thymoma, patient may only require surgery. Moreover, complete surgical removal always provides cure at the early stages of Thymoma. We have highly expert team to perform Thymoma operation by VATS (Key-hole) or Robotic method, which has been offered to many of our patients for more than a decade, with excellent outcome. So far the best approach towards surgery for removal of Thymoma is Robotic Thymectomy for Thymoma’s with or without Myasthenia Gravis.

Even at advanced stages of Thymoma, surgery plays a crucial role in the overall treatment. However, these patients are given chemotherapy initially to decrease the size of the tumour and make it “resectable”. Thereafter, the tumour can be operated. Thus overall, In early as well as in advanced stages of Thymoma, surgery is the most important treatment. Complete removal of Thymoma including removal of the neighbouring structures and organs plays an important role for long term survival of the patient or even cure.

Our Group at Centre for Chest Surgery has operated on several 100 Thymomas in the last 25 years with excellent outcomes. Cases involving the blood vessels around the heart can also be resected with artificial replacement, which can give long term survival. Out of all the tumours occurring in the chest region, Thymoma has the best outcomes after surgery and every patient with Thymoma must receive the benefit of surgery. However, the experience of the operating team is very-very important in ensuring complete removal of the tumour.


Comments for “Thymoma: Learn the Staging, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Chances of Recovery of this Cancer”

  1. Reply

    Everything is so loud and clear.Nothing is hide. More over in laymen language.

    Pawan Gupta,

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