Thymoma and Thymic Carcinoma: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 02/2021

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.

People with thymoma or thymic carcinoma may experience the following symptoms or signs. A symptom is something that only the person experiencing it can identify and describe, such as fatigue, nausea, or pain. A sign is something that other people can identify and measure, such as a fever, rash, or an elevated pulse. Together, signs and symptoms can help describe a medical problem. Sometimes, people with thymoma or thymic carcinoma do not have any of the signs and symptoms described below. Or, the cause of a symptom or sign may be a medical condition that is not cancer.

  • Persistent cough

  • Shortness of breath

  • Pain or pressure in the chest

  • Muscle weakness

  • Drooping eyelids

  • Double vision

  • Arm or facial swelling

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Anemia, which is a low red blood cell count

  • Frequent infections

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor may ask how long and how often you have been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help figure out the reason for the symptoms, called a diagnosis.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may be called palliative care or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is DiagnosisIt explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.