URL of this page: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/thymuscancer.html

Thymus Cancer

Also called: Thymoma 


The thymus is a small organ in your upper chest, under your breastbone. Before birth and during childhood, the thymus helps the body make a type of white blood cell. These cells help protect you from infections.

Cancer of the thymus is rare. You are more likely to get it if you have other diseases such as myasthenia gravis, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes there are no symptoms. Other times, thymus cancer can cause

  • A cough that doesn't go away
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing

Doctors use a physical exam, imaging tests, and a biopsy to diagnose thymus cancer. The most common treatment is surgery to remove the tumor. Other options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Start Here



Treatments and Therapies

Related Issues

Specific Conditions

  • Thymoma (American Society of Clinical Oncology)

Statistics and Research

Clinical Trials

Reference Desk

Find an Expert

Patient Handouts