I was recently diagnosed with Myasthenia gravis. Am I at a greater risk for developing Thymoma carcinoma?
Unfortunately, yes. People who have autoimmune conditions are known to be more likely to develop Thymoma carcinoma. Approximately 30-75% of those diagnosed with this form of cancer also have either Myasthenia gravis, hypogammaglobulinemia, or pure red cell aplasia. Those with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, and other autoimmune diseases are also at a higher risk for Thymoma carcinoma, but the conditions do not correlate as strongly.
Why is this the case? Thymoma carcinoma is cancer of the thymus gland, which is part of the lymph or immune system. The thymus gland is the body part that makes white blood cells, which fight infection. As we get older, the thymus typically shrinks in size. However, in people with autoimmune conditions, the gland remains larger and can house clusters of immune cells that can turn into malignant tumors over time.
Thymoma Carcinoma Often Goes Unnoticed
Thymoma carcinoma cells are slow growing; most patients are diagnosed over the age of 70. It is more common in those of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. Early stages of Thymoma carcinoma may not cause a specific set of symptoms, and because patients at the highest risk for developing this form of cancer are dealing with other health concerns, it can go unnoticed for some time. It is also typically found and diagnosed during a routine check-up for an existing concern. Once Thymoma carcinoma has progressed a bit, it can cause chest pain, trouble breathing, or a cough that persists.
Because this form of cancer is often found in a progressed stage and is associated with the lymphatic system, it is common for the cancer to have metastasized before it is even diagnosed. Even with this, the overall five-year survival rate for Thymoma carcinoma averages 70% according to the American Cancer Society.
Take Care of Youself When Battling Thymoma Carcinoma
“Maintaining your overall health while undergoing cancer treatment is one of our top priorities at Causenta,” says Dr. Tom Incledon, Founder & CEO of Causenta. “This is especially important for patients with Thymoma carcinoma who are also battling Myasthenia gravis or hypogammaglobulinemia. We have to be sure that we look at their hormone levels and all the medications they are on to ensure that the treatments we recommend will fight the cancer and not counteract anything that is helping them manage their autoimmune condition.”
Holistic care is a cornerstone of Causenta’s cancer care philosophy, and each patient works with a team of medical oncologists, nutritionists, and exercise therapists to create a plan that will be most effective for that individual. “We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all treatment,” says Incledon. “Everyone is different and reacts differently to treatment, so we can’t only rely on what has worked before. We have to continually monitor each patient to be sure treatment is working for them at the moment.”
For more information about personalized care and holistic treatment options for Thymoma carcinoma at Causenta, schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation today.