A 22-year-old man had a cough for weeks. Doctors found a 7-inch tumor in his chest.

  • In Health
  • 2022-12-09 17:22:12Z
Man coughing into sleeve
Man coughing into sleeve  
  • A man, 22, had a cough for weeks due to a tumor compressing the tube that carries air into his lung.

  • Doctors did open-chest surgery to remove the tumor, which was almost 7-inches long.

  • According to the case report, the man didn't have any symptoms a month after the surgery.

Doctors found a 7-inch-long tumor in the chest of a 22-year-old man who had been coughing for weeks, according to a report.

The unnamed man went to the Emergency Room to find out why he'd had a cough for three weeks, doctors wrote in a case report published in the Journal of Surgical Case Reports on October 30.

He'd also experienced chest pain when the cough started, but this had got better, the surgeons working in New Jersey wrote.

He didn't have any other diagnosed medical conditions, didn't smoke, and his COVID-19 tests were negative, they said.

The man had an almost 7-inch mass compressing part of his airway

However, a chest x-ray and CT scan revealed a mass measuring almost 7-inches ("up to 17.2 cm") in the right side of his chest, which was compressing the tube that carries air from the windpipe into the right lung, called the bronchus.

Doctors diagnosed the man with a thymoma, which is a rare tumor of the thymus - a small organ that lies above the heart and beneath the breast bone. The thymus is part of the immune system and manufactures white blood cells.

Thymomas are usually benign, but they can become malignant and spread to other organs, like the lungs. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 400 people get diagnosed with thymic tumors each year.

Symptoms of a thymoma include a cough that doesn't go away

Signs and symptoms of a thymoma include: a cough that doesn't go away, breathlessness, chest pain, a hoarse voice, and swelling in the face, neck, upper body, or arms. Thymic carcinoma, another rare tumor that arises from the same organ, can cause similar symptoms so anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Treatment of thymoma can include: surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and hormone treatment.

According to the report, the surgeons performed open-chest surgery to remove the mass, as well as part of the lung that was touching it, and a portion of the heart tissue.

The man was discharged from hospital a week after surgery, and a month later he wasn't experiencing any shortness of breath, the doctors wrote. 

Thymomas can recur a "long time" after treatment is complete and there is an increased risk of "other cancers," the National Cancer Institute states. 

The man was due to receive radiotherapy within six months, according to the report, which typically is to lower the risk that the thymoma will come back.


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