What are thymic malignancies?
Thymoma and thymic carcinoma are rare cancers of the thymus gland, which is located in the chest behind the breast bone. In children, the thymus gland produces immune cells; in adults, the thymus gland no longer serves an important function.
Thymomas are generally slow-growing, although some can be aggressive and spread in the bloodstream. In contrast, thymic carcinomas are the most aggressive tumors of the thymus gland.
Thymomas and thymic carcinomas may be found by chance on chest X-rays or CT scans done for other reasons. Both malignancies may cause symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath.