Expertise in Caring for Mediastinal Tumors

The mediastinum is the central area of the chest, surrounded by the breastbone, spine and lungs. This area contains the heart, aorta, esophagus, thymus and trachea. Mediastinal tumors are growths that develop in one of the three areas of the mediastinum: the anterior (front), the middle, or the posterior (back). The position of the tumor in the mediastinum typically depends on the patient’s age.

Children are more likely to develop mediastinal tumors in the back of the mediastinum. These are often benign, or noncancerous. Adults are more likely to develop tumors in the front of the mediastinum. These tumors are typically malignant, or cancerous. Affected adults are usually between the ages of 30 and 50. Mediastinal tumors are very rare.

Learn more about chest wall tumor causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Why Choose Us for Mediastinal Tumor Treatment

Together with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, we have the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, meeting the highest standards in cancer research, treatment, prevention and education in the nation. We offer the most advanced treatment options, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy and access to clinical trials, many of which are not available elsewhere.

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To schedule an appointment with one of New Jersey’s best lung and thoracic cancer specialists, call 844-CANCERNJ or 844-226-2376.

What Causes Mediastinal Tumors?

The mediastinum is divided into three sections: the anterior (front), middle and posterior (back). What causes a mediastinal tumor generally depends on where it forms.

Anterior

  • Thymoma. These tumors surround the fibrous tissue in the mediastinum. This is the most common type of anterior tumor. Most are benign, but the malignant ones are very aggressive.
  • Lymphoma. This is a type of cancer that begins in the immune system. There are two types: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Thyroid mass. This mass usually forms from a goiter. Thyroid masses are usually benign.

Middle

  • Bronchogenic cyst. This is a benign congenital (present at birth) growth that is part of a series of respiratory congenital conditions.
  • Pericardial cyst. These are rare benign cysts that come from an “out-pouching” of the heart’s lining.
  • Tracheal and esophageal tumors. These are tumors located on the trachea or esophagus. They can be benign or malignant.

Posterior

  • Neurogenic tumor. These tumors develop on the nerves and are usually benign. They can often be found on the side of the backbone.
  • Lymphadenopathy. This is a condition that causes the lymph nodes to swell.

Mediastinal Mass Symptoms

In most cases, there are no mediastinal mass symptoms. Once the tumor grows, however, mediastinal mass symptoms can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Frequent headaches
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Recurring lung problems like bronchitis or respiratory infections
  • Persistent fatigue

It is important to see a doctor at the first sign of mediastinal mass symptoms.

Mediastinal Tumor Diagnosis

Screenings are typically performed through a routine checkup even if no mediastinal mass symptoms are present. Your doctor will also schedule a screening if you are showing any symptoms or are exposed to certain risk factors. Typically, based on your doctor’s assessment, you will have one or more of the following diagnostic tests and procedures:

  • Chest X-rays
  • Computed tomography (CT scan)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron-emission tomography (PET)
  • Tissue biopsy

Mediastinal Tumor Treatment

There are many different approaches to treating mediastinal tumors. The right option for you depends on where the tumor formed and what caused it. In the early stages, doctors usually choose to monitor the tumor to see if it will cause any problems before recommending a treatment that could be unnecessary.

Some lifestyle changes that may be recommended include:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Test your home for radon
  • Avoid carcinogens at work
  • Make and keep appointments to see your doctor for routine checkups and follow-up tests

Medical and surgical procedures that may be recommended include:

  • Chemotherapy. Medicines or drugs are used to kill tumor cells.
  • Radiation therapy. High energy particles or waves, such as X-rays, gamma rays, electron beams, or protons, are used to destroy or damage cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy. Boosts the immune system so it can find and attack cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy. Drugs or other substances are used to precisely identify and attack certain types of cancer cells.

Mediastinal Tumor Survival Rate

The mediastinal tumor survival rate after resection varies, depending on the type of lesion resected. The mediastinal tumor survival rate after the resection of mediastinal cysts and benign tumors is generally excellent.

The mediastinal tumor survival rate after treatment of malignant mediastinal tumors depends on the type of lesion, its biological behavior, and the extent of the disease present.

We offer the breadth of expertise and an innovative, comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating mediastinal tumors with the latest technology, increasing the mediastinal tumor life expectancy. We work together to properly evaluate each patient on a case-by-case basis. This lets us partner with you to devise the best care plan and outcome possible.

To schedule an appointment with one of New Jersey’s best lung and thoracic cancer specialists, call 844-CANCERNJ or 844-226-2376.

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