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Old 08-31-2004, 11:05 AM   #1
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Radiology Report...thymic mass

Hi,
I'm 25 and started having a long list of symptoms in June 03 including: shortness of breath, chest pressure, lightheadedness, fatigue, back pain, and tachycardia. I ended up finding out I had thyroid cancer in July 03. I had my thyroid removed and just had my 2nd radioiodine treatment. There was no mets...just a small amount of tissue left in my neck after my surgeries. Yet, I still have all of the above symptoms.

My question is this...I had a CT scan of my chest in June 03 due to my chest pressure and shortness of breath. Everything was normal except they said my thymus never "went down". The actual report looks a little worriesome to me and over the past year I've gotten 3 different opinions on it...all of these Dr.'s said it was nothing to worry about and there was no reason to do another scan.

Here is part of the report:
"In the anterior mediatstinum, there is a soft tissue mass with inhomogenous enhancement. Differential diagnosis would center upon the thymus and various thymic neoplasms, cysts, and hyperplasia.

The margin of the mass is not optimally defined. Differential diagnosis would include invasive and noninvasive thymomas at the margin with the mass, and adjacent mediastinal fat is not sharp; it could possibly be locally invasive, but there is no peripheral spread."

The part about "could possibly be locally invasive" is what worries me. Now, it's been over a year since this CT scan...so I guess if it were malignant I would have a lot more symptoms by now. I have also had a lymph node that is a little smaller than a marble under my chin for over 6 months. It isn't painful, but my Dr. didn't seem concerned since it hasn't grown.

I would appreciate it if anyone who knows about rad reports could tell me what you think. I've already gotten 3 opinions, but I just don't understand why the report says it could be invasive when the Dr.'s say it's just my thymus.

Thanks in advance, hilery

Last edited by hilery79; 08-31-2004 at 11:07 AM.

 
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Old 09-01-2004, 12:38 AM   #2
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

Hi Hilery - just a question.

Prior to your diagnoses in June 03 did you have any scans or x-rays for your chest tightness and shortness of breath??

It just that if you had a scan back then and there was no Thymic mass present then perhaps it isn't residual as they suggest as it would have appeared on a report back then. They usually say "could" be locally invasive to cover themselves but like you I would not be satisfied with that. Thymoma's are very slowly growing tumours and are not commonly malignant. I would try to find a doctor who will at lease monitor this as if it grows then they may want to perform a biopsy.

Not sure if you are familiar with the term Myasthenia gravis but this is also linked to having an abnormal thymus.

I know all of this because the last 7-8 weeks for me have been hell. I have been having horrible chest pains/tightness, shortness of breath and generally feeling very unwell (which for a fit 23yo hasn't been the norm for me!). I have a cough I can't shake and some enlarged nodes in my neck. They tested me for everything under the sun, common infection etc but come up with nothing. They first told me it was Rhumetiod then Asthma.

I finally found a respiratory doctor who is great! I have a thymic mass also - around the size of a golf ball. He was the first doctor to not to tell me my growth wasn't cause for concern, in fact he said the opposite and we should watch it. I finally felt satisifed!! Espcially after the scan was first reported as enlarged lymph nodes in the same area and I was told there was a good chance it was Lymphoma. The doctor is seeking a second opinion on my original scan as the first report was 'conclusive enough for him'. He said that they used 'probably residual thymus' on the report which to us indicated they aren't quite sure. Sounds like that on your scan also! Good luck with finding someone Hilery! Let us know how you go

 
Old 09-22-2004, 11:55 AM   #3
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

Wow-
Finally someone with my same issues. I was having the same symptoms as you (chest pain, back pain, tachycardia, etc). In July 2003, I had a CT done. Report said there was a anterior mediastinal mass 4cm x 4cm. Differential diagnosis - a list of terrible sounding cancers! I freaked out. No one mentioned thymus gland to me. Finally, I talked to a surgeon. He reviewed the x-rays and said it appears to be in the thymus area, but I'm not sure. It could be enlarge lymphnodes, etc. We discussed needle aspiration to determine the cell chemistry, but he felt because of the location, right behind the sternum, it would not be definitive. My decision was to go through with surgery to remove the mass, that way we would be 100% sure of what is was and know if it was cancerous, etc. So, I had major surgery (thymectomy). It turned out to be a begnign thymus gland. No one could tell me why it was enlarged. All doctors say it is so rare, that they don't have a lot of answers. I don't show signs of myasthenia gravis.

Surgery was hard. Recovery time was 2-3 months. Knowing the outcome, I probably would have settled for just waiting and monitoring it. I still have tachycardia (no answers for that). I still have chest pain, occasionally, in the same spot. However, it isn't as intense. Also, I still don't feel like a healthy individual. I still feel like there is more going on than what my doctors have come up with (NOTHING).
Good Luck to you,
Chances are it is nothing to worry about.

Last edited by anxiousme; 09-22-2004 at 11:56 AM.

 
Old 09-22-2004, 02:05 PM   #4
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

Hilary,

Good to see you back...I was keeping up with you on the heart posts...how have you been doing? I have a few questions of my own regarding lumps and bumps and was alway's a bit nervous about asking them...

I have been down the road of MS, heart problems, ear problems, anxiety, breast cancer scare (2 breast surgeries) etc, etc. I still have quite an array of symptoms and now are really bothering me..

Here's my symptoms:
chest tightness, sob, chest pressure, tachacardyia, bracardyia, my lymph nodes are all over the place, I can feel them on my chest, under my breast on my rib cage and I have a huge unmoveable lump on the back of my neck (imagine if you are bending your head down and you have your hand on the back of your neck and rubbing along the hairline) that is and has not gone down, NOW I have about an egg shaped lump on my back on my spine and the doctor said that it was probably calcium bulidup...now with that being said, I tend to agree that I have hypocondria type feelings...I do not run to the doctor everytime I get something (infact my doctor doesn't even know about the lymph node thing) and I am dreadfully fearful of medication, the only thing that I take is Zoloft .50mgs 1x dailey and Xanax .25 mg. 2x a day...and occasionally Advil...

I am at the end of my rope...I am tired all the time, although I get plenty of rest, a work a full time stress ful job that is sometimes literally a 24 hour job, have every test in the book...and now the lumps and bumps are freaking my out...and I really don't want to tell the doctor..but this thing on my back is really freaky...

O.K., I am sorry, Hilary79 I hope things go well for you...did you find out about your thyroid? Did all the treatments put you into remission?

Thanks,
Bec

 
Old 09-22-2004, 05:31 PM   #5
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

Hi there anxiousme,

Wow I can't believe you had the surgery! My doctor talked about it but said given the location and difficulty of getting it out it really would be better to leave this and monitor. I think I prefered that as it does not sound like a pleasant experience! Sorry to hear it took so long to recover and that your still not 100%.

I went for another lot of tests witht the thoracic physician about three weeks ago now. Obviously there is nothing seriously wrong with me or he would have called. I think I am more annoyed at him as even if there isn't anything life threatening I'd still like to work out why the hell is wrong with me. Still quite ill but no one can give me answers. I spend all this money on doctors and not one rings me back with test results as I am assuming they're negetive. But I feel as a paitent perhaps they can call either way to put me out of my worry! Not too mind - I think I have just about given up and will just live with feeling yukky all the time

I am still awaiting results for MG - I assume they are negetive as I haven't been called!

Did they tell you it was residual? Could I ask how old you are if that is okay? Just I am 23 so they say it's nothing to worry about too much as I am young. If I was older it would be of much more concern apparently. I hope you start to feel much better soon!!

 
Old 09-23-2004, 05:32 PM   #6
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hilery79 HB User
Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

Quote:
Originally Posted by worryworttx
Hilary,

Good to see you back...I was keeping up with you on the heart posts...how have you been doing? I have a few questions of my own regarding lumps and bumps and was alway's a bit nervous about asking them...

I have been down the road of MS, heart problems, ear problems, anxiety, breast cancer scare (2 breast surgeries) etc, etc. I still have quite an array of symptoms and now are really bothering me..

Here's my symptoms:
chest tightness, sob, chest pressure, tachacardyia, bracardyia, my lymph nodes are all over the place, I can feel them on my chest, under my breast on my rib cage and I have a huge unmoveable lump on the back of my neck (imagine if you are bending your head down and you have your hand on the back of your neck and rubbing along the hairline) that is and has not gone down, NOW I have about an egg shaped lump on my back on my spine and the doctor said that it was probably calcium bulidup...now with that being said, I tend to agree that I have hypocondria type feelings...I do not run to the doctor everytime I get something (infact my doctor doesn't even know about the lymph node thing) and I am dreadfully fearful of medication, the only thing that I take is Zoloft .50mgs 1x dailey and Xanax .25 mg. 2x a day...and occasionally Advil...

I am at the end of my rope...I am tired all the time, although I get plenty of rest, a work a full time stress ful job that is sometimes literally a 24 hour job, have every test in the book...and now the lumps and bumps are freaking my out...and I really don't want to tell the doctor..but this thing on my back is really freaky...

O.K., I am sorry, Hilary79 I hope things go well for you...did you find out about your thyroid? Did all the treatments put you into remission?

Thanks,
Bec
Hi Bec,
No, I'm not into remission yet...there was still some tissue in my neck area when I had my scan in Aug. My Dr. said there was about 10% left, so I had another treatment last month. Hopefully my next scan will be clean.

I can definately relate with the swollen lymph nodes. My biggest one is about the size of a marble under my chin. I also have a few small ones I'm able to feel under my rib cage and on the side of my breast. My Dr. has told me they're nothing to worry about. I do tend to run to the Dr. a lot because of all of my symptoms(I'm a bit of a hypochondriac)...so now I think they just assume every problem I have is anxiety related.

Have you found anything that helps your chest pressure and sob? This has been one of my worst symptoms over the last year.

I hope things get better for you soon.
Hilery

 
Old 09-23-2004, 08:12 PM   #7
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

Hi rach 81 and others-

I don't mind you asking my age. I was 31 when I went through surgery. Yeah, looking back, I can't believe I went through with the surgery either. But, we really had no idea what the mass was. I was so anxious. I just wanted the darn thing out ASAP. Before surgery, when I would get a cold or any kind of respiratory infection, my chest pain was so intense I didn't even want to get out of bed. The pain was always located right behind my strenum. You could feel the pain in the same location on my back. That pain is gone for the most part. So to me that makes the surgery worth it. I just wish my docs could tell me more also.
You asked me if I knew if it was residual. I'm not sure what that means. Anyways, hopefully we all don't have to live the rest of our lives feeling yucky, miserable, and anxious. Follow your heart and we will find answers.

 
Old 11-11-2004, 06:55 PM   #8
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

Hi Hilery, anxiousme .... just wanted to see if you guys were still around and if Hilery you had any updates

Curious to see what people going through/or gone through have any progress!

Rach

 
Old 11-11-2004, 07:38 PM   #9
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

Rach 81
I'm still here.
I seem to be doing better. Although my latest problem is reoccurent upper respiratory infections. I have been on antibiotics a ton during this last year. I feel like the removal of my thymus has really effected my immune system. I felt normal/stable enough that my DH and I decided to try for our second child. I'm currently 5 mos. pregnant. We are happy about that. It has kept my mind off of my health problems. I never got any answers from any doctors.

How about you? Do you have any answers or new leads? Hope you are doing better yourself

 
Old 11-11-2004, 09:17 PM   #10
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

Hi there anxiousme

Congratulations on being pregnant! Very nice way to be distracted from re-occuring problems. Sorry to hear about the resiratory problems, what a pain the in proverbial! I have a nasty dose of the flu that I can't shake at the moment, lots of coughing and sore chest

Update on my situation - I have posted in just under this post called 'back again" pretty much sums it up, although I have to admit I am glad I am getting some follow up! Sounds like am I little lucky with my docs than what you were. The doctor thought was rude for not returning my calls is actually explaining a lot of things to me - which makes for a nice change!

Your comment on the removal of the Thymus gland is interesting as I often wondered if it would have an effect at all. I read some places that the Thymic tissue doesn't play a part in adult life but other articles I read state it continues to be active ?? Bit confusing - I'll probably ask my doctor that question if it comes to having the surgery.

Hope your on the road to recovery soon and that your pregnancy runs as smoothly as possible!

 
Old 11-12-2004, 10:06 AM   #11
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

Rach 81-
I went back and read your other post. Wow, sounds like you have been shuffled around quite a bit. I'm so glad to hear that your MRI is sooner rather than latter. I completely understand the anxiety involved with waiting for results. You should now your results by the next week I imagine. Like some of the others have said, If they find something of great concern, I think you would know within the same day. I'm sure you have done a lot of research on the thymus. Remember a great majority of them are benign. Just focus on the positives. Good or bad, you will have some answers finally! As someone who went through with the major surgery, I don't have to worry about my thymus anymore. It is gone. That is a decision you will have to make. Time has away of making you forget the pain and circumstances that you go through. It seems like a long time ago for me, it was done in Aug 2003.
I don't think doctors really know the true function of the thymus. We talked a little about it compromising your immune system (I think it has). Also, my hormones went alittle crazy. Doctors say that they doubt it is related, but I know my levels were more balanced before the removal of the gland. After all the thymus is a gland in a major body system. It is enlarged for a reason, in my mind. With all that being said I mentioned that I am feeling quite a bit better. Those horrible chest pains are gone. I know the thymus isn't there any longer, so I don't have to worry about changes, it causing my heart problems, etc. I had enough peace of mind inorder to concieve. All in all my life style is much improved.
Sorry this thread turned out long, but I feel a connection to you b/c we have a similar circumstance. I will be wishing you all the best on the 19th. One way or another you will be a step closer to resolve! Good Luck. Let us know. I would love to hear anything you learn about the subject. There is not a lot of us out there. Positive thoughts!

 
Old 11-12-2004, 07:11 PM   #12
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

I'm still here, too.
My shortness of breath continues to get worse, but my Dr. keeps blaming this on my thyroid issues. I'm trying to find a Dr. to do another CT on my chest. It's been 18 months since my last scan. My GP insists that this "thymic mass" is nothing and there is no need to do another scan. I still have enlarged lymph nodes under my chin, but they haven't grown at all...so I guess that's a good sign.

Rach, I'm sorry you've been through so much. Best of luck with your MRI and be sure to let us know what you find out.

Anxiousme, Congrats on your pregnancy!

Last edited by hilery79; 11-12-2004 at 07:13 PM.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 05:12 PM   #13
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

i am 23 years old and have have just beentold i have thymus gland issues i see a sergon in a few days i know nothing about this thymus and they found out by doing a ct scan at the hospital when i went in thinking i was having a heartattack. i do have a part of my heart that is enlarged and i get chestpains shortness of breath thyroid problems and always am tired and sick alot. i would like to get some info from anyone whos had it removed. thanks

 
Old 08-25-2005, 11:34 AM   #14
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

I went through the surgery in 2003. See post above. It is a difficult surgery with considerable recovery time. However, I feel that it has helped me. My pain in the region has lightened. I still have health issues and cannot link them to the thymus or removal of the thymus. Let me know if you have specific questions.

 
Old 01-23-2006, 12:36 PM   #15
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Re: Radiology Report...thymic mass

what does it feel like exactly to have a thymic mass behind your sternim? When you touch it, is it sore and painful?
I've been posting some of my symptoms on different boards trying to figure out what I might have... I'm 30 and I have most of the symptoms you all mentioned plus some other stuff. I'm on zoloft 50mg for panic and anxiety disorder which has helped a lot! BUT I've been feeling very run down a lot lately, heavy and tight in my upper body, heaviness in my chest like something sitting on my chest, a bump in the back side of my neck about the size of a small bird egg and I was just on the sofa touching around my chest and I noticed right in the middle of my chest at the very bottom of my brest bone where it comes to a point sort of, is SOOOOO SORE! I pushed in on it very lightly and almost screamed from the pain! I haven't had an injury there that I know of so, I have no clue what it could be.. I can just very very lightly touch it and the pain goes all the way to my back.
So, for those of you who've had this, was it sore to touch that part of your chest?
Thanks!

 
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