Treating Thymus Cancer

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don’t hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

Making treatment decisions

After a thymic tumor is found and tests have been done to get a sense of its likely stage, your cancer care team will discuss your treatment options with you. Factors important in choosing a treatment include the type and stage of the cancer, whether or not it is resectable (able to be completely removed with surgery), and whether you have any other serious medical problems. Because thymic cancer is rare, it has been hard to do large studies looking at treatments and comparing one against another. That’s why in many cases the best way to treat this cancer is not always clear

Your health care team may include: a thoracic surgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, pulmonologist, a neurologist, as well as nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals.

Selecting a treatment plan is an important decision, and you should take the time to think about all of your choices. If time permits, it is often a good idea to seek a second opinion. A second opinion can provide more information and help you feel more confident about the treatment plan chosen.

The main treatments for thymus cancer are:

For information about some of the most common approaches used based on the extent of the disease, see Treatment of Thymus Cancers by Extent and Type of Tumor.