Several tests are usually required to confirm a thymoma diagnosis. Typically, imaging tests are among the first to be completed, as they can sometimes detect unusual growths that might be causing a patient’s symptoms. The results of these scans may then indicate whether further testing is warranted. The most common imaging tests for thymoma include:
- CT (computed tomography) scans
- PET (positron emission tomography) scans
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
X-rays may also be used when a physician makes a thymoma diagnosis, but because the other types of imaging scans are capable of producing more detailed images, X-rays are generally used less frequently. If an imaging scan reveals an abnormal lesion, a biopsy will then be ordered. To perform a biopsy, a physician or a surgeon will remove a small sample of the tumor. A pathologist will then examine the tumor cells under a microscope, and if the cells exhibit specific characteristics, an official thymoma diagnosis can be made. Sometimes, a physician will elect to remove an entire tumor rather than only a small sample. When this happens, the tissues will still be analyzed after the entire growth has been surgically removed. At Moffitt Cancer Center, the Thoracic Oncology Program offers a complete range of diagnostic services for thymoma. We can confirm – or rule out – an initial thymoma diagnosis, or we can provide a second opinion for a patient who has already been diagnosed. We perform multiple imaging scans and lab tests in a single, convenient location, and we promptly interpret the results to give patients the answers they deserve. For more information about the diagnostic process for thymoma, or to discuss your diagnosis with one of our expert oncologists, call 1-888-663-3488 or schedule an appointment online. No referral is required.