What is Cancer
Cancer Type

Thymus cancer

What is thymus cancer?
Thymus cancer, also known as thymoma, is cancer that begins in the thymus. The thymus is a small organ in the top of the chest. It produces cells that are important for protecting the body from invaders like fungi and bacteria.
How common is it?
Thymus cancer is very rare. There are 7 registered cases of thymoma in Malaysia according to the National Cancer Registry (2007).
Causes
It is not known what causes thymus cancer. In some families, it affects several generations, suggesting that there is an inherited gene change that can increase the risk of this cancer.
Signs and symptoms
Often there are no symptoms at first. Sometimes a person develops an autoimmune disorder (where the immune system destroys or attacks the body's own tissue), such as a condition that causes serious muscle weakness. A tumour may press on the windpipe, causing shortness of breath, or put pressure on veins, causing the face to swell.

See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. They may be due to another cause, but it is best to have a doctor check them.
Diagnosis and treatment
The Macmillan Cancer Support website has more detailed information about diagnosis and treatment of thymus cancer.