Thymoma is a tumor that forms in the thymus; it can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Treatment for malignant thymoma will depend on its stage. It usually involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. This is determined by the extent to which the tumor has spread to adjacent organs and tissues. The staging system, which is commonly used for thymoma, classifies growths from one to four, depending on how much they have grown.
Method 1 of 3: Surgical removal of thymoma
Step 1. Understand what it means to surgically remove thymoma
The success of the surgery will depend on the stage of the tumor. Surgery is usually performed to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue. Surgery to remove a thymoma is called a thymectomy. It is performed by a thoracic surgeon who specializes in chest-related surgical procedures.
There are various surgical procedures that are performed to remove thymoma - these are outlined below
Step 2. Get a median sternotomy
This is the most common surgery performed to remove thymoma. This operation consists in dissecting the sternum and removing the thymoma with the surrounding tissues. It is usually performed in the early stages of thymoma. [
Step 3. Perform cytoreductive surgery
This operation is performed at the later stages of thymoma, when it is impossible to remove the entire tumor. During the procedure, if the opportunity arises, they try to remove most of the tumor - this helps to eliminate some of the symptoms. This surgery may involve removing part of the lung or the inner lining of the lungs when the tumor has spread to these areas.
Some patients after cytoreductive surgery may be given radiation therapy to kill any cancer cells that may have remained after the surgery
Step 4. Allow your doctor to perform laparoscopic chest surgery
During this operation, three small incisions are made on the right or left side of the chest. A laparoscope and other instruments are inserted through the incisions.
As a rule, this operation is recommended for people with the first stage of cancer. It is a much less invasive operation compared to those performed in the later stages of cancer
Step 5. Find out if you are a candidate for robotic thymectomy
During this procedure, incisions are made in the patient's chest and robotic arms are inserted through them, which are located on one side of the base unit. Several medical devices are attached to the other side, including endoscopic cameras, with which the surgeon sees inside the body, and sharp instruments with which the surgeon cuts and sutures - thin and miniature scalpels and laser instruments.
- The operating surgeon uses a device with which he controls the instruments inside the patient's body. Tools have the same capabilities as the human wrist. Using instruments and precise movements, the surgeon cuts and sutures.
- The computer translates these movements so that the instruments perform the same procedure inside the patient's body.
Method 2 of 3: Removing thymoma with radiation therapy
Step 1. Understand how radiation therapy works
Irradiation is characterized by the movement of energy from one part of the body to another. This energy can be in the form of visible light, protons, or X-ray wave-like rays. What type of radiation will be used depends on the amount of energy it will take to remove the thymoma.
- During irradiation, high power invisible beams are used to destroy cancer cells. This will help stop their growth and reproduction. This method is usually used to treat localized thymoma that has not spread.
- If you choose radiation therapy, you will work with an oncologist.
Step 2. Get external beam radiation therapy
The most common type of radiation is external beam radiation therapy (NLT). In this case, an apparatus is used that generates X-rays, as in the usual X-ray procedure, only these X-rays are irradiated.
- This procedure is painless, but it has many side effects such as fatigue, skin redness, weight loss due to poor appetite, nausea and vomiting. This is all due to the increased amount of radiation, which damages normal cells along with cancerous ones.
- Another type of external beam radiation therapy is 3D conformal radiation therapy. This procedure allows you to accurately hit the target - a malignant tumor, while the surrounding tissues are practically not affected. This means the procedure has fewer side effects than conventional radiation therapy.
Step 3. Let your doctor do BMI
Intensive modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is an advanced form of 3D conformal radiation therapy that can also be used to remove thymoma. The procedure is controlled by a computer that directs the formed beam of rays at different angles so that it hits the tumor directly.
Beam beam and radiation intensity can be adjusted so as not to harm healthy tissues
Step 4. Pass the inner radiation
The radiation source can also be an implant, which is placed directly into the tumor. This form of radiation therapy is called interstitial or internal radiation. Internal radiation is usually given to outpatients for several weeks. Moreover, the person is not radioactive during or after treatment.
Step 5. It should be understood that radiation therapy is often used in combination with other treatments
Radiation therapy helps reduce the likelihood of tumor recurrence. It is usually used in conjunction with surgery because radiation helps shrink the tumor, making it easier to remove.
- Radiation therapy is sometimes used in combination with chemotherapy to treat aggressive cancers. However, the combination of these treatments can lead to very unpleasant side effects.
- Irradiation can be used alone in cases where patients are very ill. These patients are usually unable to withstand invasive procedures such as surgery.
Method 3 of 3: Removing thymoma using chemotherapy
Step 1. Understand how the thymoma can be removed with chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is a procedure used to kill cancer cells. During treatment, drugs are used that are administered intravenously or orally. With chemotherapy, drugs enter the bloodstream and then spread to other organs. This is advisable when the thymoma has spread to adjacent tissues and organs.
- Chemotherapy can be done before surgery to shrink a tumor that cannot be removed with surgery.
- It can also be done after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. Some tumors can be so small that surgeons cannot remove them.
- Chemotherapy is also used when a person is in poor health or cannot undergo surgery.
Step 2. Get systemic chemotherapy
Chemotherapy drugs can either be taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle. The drugs are able to enter the bloodstream and reach cancer cells throughout the body. This procedure is called systemic chemotherapy because it affects all systems in the body.
Step 3. Talk to your doctor about regional chemotherapy
Chemotherapy can also be given to a specific area of the body, such as the abdomen or spine, where the thymoma has formed. It is a localized treatment that destroys cancer cells that are in a specific area.
Step 4. Find out what medications are given during chemotherapy
There are various chemotherapy drugs that can be prescribed during treatment. These include: carboplatin, cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, etoposide, ifosfamide, octreotide, paclitaxel, and pemetrexed. Combinations commonly used to treat thymoma include:
- Cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, and doxorubicin.
- Paclitaxel and carboplatin.
- Cisplatin and etoposide.
Step 5. Consider the side effects of chemotherapy
What side effects you may experience from chemotherapy will depend on the drug and its dose. However, common side effects include: