Thymus gland cancer

Thymus gland cancer treatment at GenesisCare

We are specialists in the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating all types of cancer, including thymus gland cancers. We have teams of highly trained cancer specialists who are experts in this disease. They work together to evaluate the newest, evidence-based approaches so we can offer these to every patient – without delay.

Chapter 1

Treatment overview

Thymus gland cancer treatment may include surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. We combine this with consultant-led integrative care, such as wellbeing therapies and psychological support, to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Our qualified physiotherapists and wellbeing consultants will carefully plan these therapies tailored to your needs by working with you and your consultant.

The thymus gland makes a specific type of white blood cells called T lymphocytes, these cells play an important role in your body’s immune system. There are two main types of thymus gland cancer, and both are rare in the UK. Early diagnosis and treatment often results in positive outcome for most. They are: 

  • Thymoma – which tend to be slowgrowing and are often benign. The most common age for people to be diagnosed with thymoma is between 40 and 60 years old 
  • Thymic carcinoma – which are much rarer than thymomas and can develop at any age. They often grow quickly and aggressively, and are more likely to spread to other parts of your body 

We are the UK’s leading specialist private cancer care provider. By choosing us, you can be reassured that your treatment will be managed by a team of specialists working together, with you, to decide the best personalised care plan for your diagnosis. 

It is our commitment to offer world-class care to every patient with cancer. 

How are thymus gland cancers treated?

There are a number of options of treatment available for thymus gland cancers at GenesisCare, such as:  

  • Surgery – removal of part or all of the thymus gland  
  • Chemotherapy – anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs which destroy the cancerous cells 
  • Radiotherapy – high-energy radiation beams which are targeted at the cancer cells 

Contact us

These web pages provide more information about thymus gland cancer treatment at GenesisCare. If you would like to contact us in confidence, we will be happy to answer any of your questions.
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Chapter 2

Diagnostics

How are thymus gland cancers diagnosed?

At GenesisCare we diagnose and treat a wide range of cancers, and we understand that this can be a very worrying time. Our diagnostic services are first-class, and our commitment is to give you the answers you need, as quickly as possible. It’s important to remember that symptoms can often be caused by other conditions, not thymus gland cancer. Whatever your diagnosis we can make sure you get the expert care you need and without delay. 

If you’re concerned about possible Thymus gland cancer symptoms, we offer fast access to specialist thymus gland cancer diagnostics and expert consultants who specialise in conditions affecting areas in the head and neck, such as the thymusthroat and mouth. They’ll assess your symptoms and, if necessary, refer you for diagnostic tests such as an X-ray, CT scan, PET scan or biopsy.  

Thymus gland cancer symptoms

There may be no obvious signs of thymus gland cancer at first, and it may only be found by chance during a chest X-ray for another problem. If you do develop symptoms, they may include: 

  • Chest pains 
  • persistent cough 
  • Breathlessness 
  • Swallowing difficulties 
  • A hoarse voice and fatigue 

In some cases, you might develop a swelling in your neck called a superior vena cava obstruction (SVCO) due to the tumour pressing on blood vessels in your chest.  

If you have any concerns, you should seek medical advice or book an appointment through our Rapid Access Head and Neck Service. 

Rapid Access Head and Neck Service

Our specialist team of head and neck consultants can assess and diagnose conditions quickly so you can get the answers you need and plan any treatment immediately.
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Chapter 3

Surgery

Surgery is often used to remove tumours and forms part of an overall treatment and care plan for thymus gland cancer.

Our consultants have close relationships with expert surgeons from both local and nationally renowned hospitals and will work together with other cancer specialists to decide the best course of treatment for you. If your consultant recommends thymus gland cancer surgery, this can be arranged conveniently at one of our partner hospitals. You can then continue your other treatments at GenesisCare.  

There are various different procedures for thymus gland cancer surgery. Your surgeon will recommend the most appropriate technique depending on the size and stage of your tumour.  

Surgery side effects  

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these. 

Chapter 4

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy uses targeted, high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. It’s often a preferred treatment option for thymus gland cancer patients who are not suitable for surgery. It can be delivered on its own or in combination with chemotherapy (chemoradiation).  

You may have radiotherapy after thymus gland surgery if your surgeon was unable to remove all of the cancer, or if there is a high risk that the cancer will come back. 

At GenesisCare, we are the leading private provider of radiotherapy in the UK and offer world-class expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and advanced radiotherapy techniques. Our latest-generation radiotherapy machines (called linacs) deliver highly targeted radiation beams that are designed to be effective while minimising the radiation dose to healthy tissues. 

Your treatment will be governed by our expert multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), consisting of oncologists, radiotherapists and medical physicists. They’ll work together to ensure that you receive only the best possible care. 

Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a modern radiotherapy technique that directs beams of radiation in an arc across the treatment area. Together with surface-guided radiotherapy (SGRT), it’s possible to precisely target areas of cancer, adjusting the beam and intensity of the radiation dose to allow for movements in the body and avoid healthy tissues. Side effects of radiotherapy occur when healthy tissues receive radiation, so using this technique helps to limit the dose to tissues and organs surrounding the tumour. At GenesisCarewe offer VMAT wherever possible because it is widely recognised to be the highest standard of care currently available for patients needing this type of radiotherapy. 

Side effects of radiotherapy

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you before you start your course of radiotherapy, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these. 

Advanced radiotherapy
Chapter 5

Drug treatments

At GenesisCare, we offer all drug therapies that can be used to treat and manage thymus gland cancers, including many of the newest treatments. Depending on how these treatments are given to you, you may need to attend one of our private chemotherapy suites which are staffed by our specialist nurses. Our compassionate nursing teams are available 24/7 on a dedicated on-call telephone service, and can answer any queries during your treatment. They’ll be able to provide advice about side effects or symptoms and help arrange appropriate medical care when needed.

Our centres have all received the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark to reflect the quality of care we provide for people living with cancer. 

There are different types of drug treatments, also called systemic anti-cancer therapies. Our expert teams continually review and assess new treatments to make these available to GenesisCare patients as early as possible. 

Chemotherapy for thymus gland cancers 

Chemotherapy uses of cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drugs that destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy for thymus gland cancers can be delivered on its own or in combination with radiotherapy (chemoradiation)It may also be delivered before surgery to shrink the size of the tumour before its removal or after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence.   

Palliative care  

If your cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it’s called advanced or metastatic thymus gland cancer. At GenesisCare, you can receive palliative drug treatment for advanced thymus gland cancer, to reduce the size and progress of your cancer and ease any symptoms  

Personalised medicine 

For some advanced cancers we use specialist tests, such as liquid biopsy or genomic testing, to understand the genetic make-up of cancer cells. This helps us to identify which drugs are available to work against the particular genetic mutations in a cancer, allowing us to start effective treatment without delay. 

There may also be opportunities to access clinical trials for the newest treatments for thymus gland cancer. 

Drug treatment side effects 

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you depending on your drug treatment, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these. 

Chapter 6

Integrative care

At GenesisCare, we do more than just treat your cancer. As part of our unique and integrative approach to cancer care, you can expect the best possible care and a personalised treatment plan that includes access to life-changing therapies which are proven to improve cancer-related outcomes. These therapies will be tailored to you to help you manage and cope with your cancer as well as the specific side effects of treatment.

Exercise medicine

Exercise medicine is a personalised programme of carefully planned and supported physical activity that has been shown to improve outcomes for cancer patients, enhancing quality of life and limiting the impact of cancer, such as by improving strength and reducing fatigue. One of our physiotherapists specialising in exercise for people living with cancer will provide a 12-week programme tailored to your needs and supported by our dedicated GenesisCare Exercise Medicine app. They’ll work closely with you to monitor changes in your health and support you throughout the programme to help you get the best results. This is available at selected GenesisCare centres. 

Wellbeing

We also offer a wellbeing expert and holistic therapies such as counselling, acupuncture, massage and reflexology through our unique partnership with the Penny Brohn UK charity. This service is available to all thymus gland cancer patients at any of our 14 UK centres 

Chapter 7

Why choose us?

GenesisCare is a leading private provider of cancer care, offering the latest innovations and techniques that are proven to be safe and effective. If you choose us for thymus gland cancer treatment you’ll be under the care of a team of experts, including consultant oncologists and surgeons. They’ll design a personalised care plan based around your diagnosis and preferences, with treatment starting within days if needed. Every patient is also supported through their journey with life-changing therapies, such as exercise medicine and psychological support.

Our dedicated cancer centres are convenient and easy-to-access. You can use your private medical insurance, and we’re recognised by all leading insurers. 

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, our priority is to continue providing the very best cancer care. We have meticulous measures in place to ensure our patients receive the treatments they need safely and without delay. You can find out more about our COVID-19 safety measures here. 

We are proud that so many patients rate our care as excellent as we help them through their cancer journey. Find out more about the unique experiences of people who have had their cancer diagnosis or treatment at GenesisCare in our patient stories section.