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The thymus gland is one amongst the most important in the human body. Being a rare type of cancer, not many people are aware about it, and they undergo a sense of shock when there's a cancer in their body which they have never heard of, thus creating panic. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, it can be cured.

The thymus located inside the chest cavity and is behind the chest bone. It is amongst the important glands in the human body, because it is responsible for producing the fighting T-cells, known as T lymphocytes. These are responsible for producing antibodies and help fight diseases, and increase immunity. The thymus gland is largest in size in adolescence, but then it starts decreasing after puberty. Its place is taken by fat and scar tissues.

Thymoma and Thymic Carcinoma
This cancer is caused when DNAs in the cells are damaged. And this happens when normal cell growth is affected. Thymoma is the cancer of the thymus gland. Individuals between the ages of 40-60 years are more susceptible than others, and it may not be identified until much later. This is the time when the cancer is stable. But then, as it advances, it can spread rapidly to other parts of the body. Thymic carcinoma is a rarer type of cancer. It can be prove to be dire than thymoma.

Symptoms
The diagnosis could be a little difficult, as the symptoms of this form of cancer are very common and can be misunderstood. It may be possible that you may get to know about it when you go for a general checkup. Few of the symptoms are:
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Breathlessness
  • Severe chest pain
  • Persistent cough
  • Hard piercing voice
  • Swelling of the neck
Treatment
The suggested treatment is surgery. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be used to treat it. The patient may be treated with chemotherapy first before a surgery, because with chemotherapy, the size of large tumors can be reduced, and hence, the surgery can result to be much more effective.

With the help of surgery, it is possible to remove the tumor completely, provided it has not spread to other parts of the body. This typically is possible if the patient is in the initial stages of thymoma. For later stages of thymoma, surgery may be followed by radiotherapy. Radiotherapy helps destroy cancer cells from other surrounding parts, if it has spread. Over here, since the tumor has spread to other parts of the body, radiotherapy must be effective in destroying the cancerous cells, but then there may be a possibility that these cancerous cells may grow again. If this happens, the patient will again be treated with radiotherapy to destroy the cells. Chemotherapy is a treatment which is given to the patient if surgery and radiotherapy weren't successful. Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer drugs which help destroy these cells. Most of the time, chemotherapy is very effective for treating thymoma.

Research is being conducted to find out new methods and treatments for curing thymoma or thymus gland cancer. Such research will help find out new ways of surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy to ensure complete removal of cancerous cells from the body. If you find the symptoms similar to what is mentioned over here, it is suggested to get it diagnosed, before it is too late.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.