Thymoma symptoms generally vary from one person to the next. Some patients never notice anything out of the ordinary; other patients experience a number of symptoms, such as exhaustion, chest pain and difficulty breathing. Because thymomas develop in the chest (behind the sternum), many of the symptoms involve the respiratory system. These include:
- A persistent, dry (non-mucous-producing) cough
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea), even when sitting down or standing still
- Pain in the chest that is typically dull and aching, but occasionally more severe
Other common thymoma symptoms include muscle weakness, double vision and anemia. Some patients also experience dizziness, fatigue and difficulty swallowing, while other patients notice swelling in their hands or faces. Because thymomas often weaken a person’s immune system, frequent infections may also be a possible symptom of the cancer. These symptoms can be indicative of many different conditions, so imaging scans and lab tests are often necessary to determine if cancer is the cause. Thymoma symptoms can also be caused by chest colds, pneumonia and other less serious conditions, so a physician may first suspect a more common illness until more extensive testing is completed. At Moffitt Cancer Center, our oncologists are highly familiar with the warning signs of thymoma. Due to our expertise and advanced diagnostic technologies, we can quickly and correctly diagnose the underlying cause of a patient’s symptoms. If the symptoms are the result of a thymoma, our team can make an individualized recommendation for treatment based on the size, stage and location of the patient’s tumor. If you have experienced any of these symptoms and are concerned that thymoma may be the underlying cause, Moffitt’s oncologists can help you get the answers you deserve. No referral is necessary; you can make an appointment by submitting a new patient request online or calling 1-888-663-3488.