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What Are the Different Types of Thymus Cancer?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2014
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Thymus cancer is a malignancy that begins in the thymus gland. This organ is found in the area of the chest that is between the lungs. This places the thymus above and in front of the heart. There are several different forms of thymus cancer that may develop over time.

Also known as thymoma, thymic carcinoma is a form of thymus cancer that develops from the epithelial cells which give the thymus its distinctive shape. There are actually several classes of thymic carcinoma that may be present. Each varies in terms of cure rates and physical traits.

Type A thymic carcinoma is an example of thymus cancer that is somewhat rare, and is composed of epithelial cells that are similar in appearance to normal healthy cells. Fortunately, the cure rate for this type of cancer is extremely high, especially if caught in the early stages.

A Type B1 thymoma has a higher concentration of lymphocytes in the tumor, but is not quite as common as Type AB. While containing more lymphocytes, this brand of thymus cancer is easily diagnosed and has a cure rate that is excellent. Generally, nine out of ten patients diagnosed will survive.

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With Type B2 thymic carcinoma, there are a large number of lymphocytes as well as epithelial cells that are larger than normal. Accounting for roughly thirty-five percent of all diagnosed cases of thymus cancer, the survival rate is not as high as with Type B1. Six out of ten patients diagnosed with this type of thymus cancer can expect to survive.

When Type B3 thymoma is present, the number of lymphocytes are extremely low and the epithelial cells look almost normal. However, this form of thymus cancer offers one of the lowest cure rates of any type of thymoma. Only four out of every ten patients can look forward to a full recovery.

Without a doubt, a Type C thymic carcinoma is the deadliest of form of this type of cancer. The cells are so altered in shape and size that they no longer bear any resemblance to normal thymus cells. There is a good chance that the cancer has already begun to spread to surrounding organs, which only complicates the problem. The survival rate with this form of cancer is around one in four.

With all forms of thymus cancer, early detection and treatment greatly increase the chances of recovery. While radiation and chemotherapy may be utilized, surgical removal of the tumor is often necessary. Fortunately, modern methods of detection and treatment have greatly increased the chances of survival for these and all forms of cancer.

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