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Mass on Thymus Gland
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Mass on Thymus Gland

My cousin had breast cancer last year and was operated in March for the removal of a lump. (stage 1)She then underwent chemotherapy, followed by homonal treatment...She was hospitalized in August for OCPD, (quit smoking and is taking medication now for her condition) Recently she went back for a routine CAT scan only to discover that she now has a mass on her Thymus gland. The doctor did mention that we are all born with a mass in this area which normally by teenage years is usually gone.,He also mentioned that in some cases it doesn't. Because of her condition he feels surgery is the only answer. This means opening the sternum to get at the mass. My question to you, is there another method for removal of this mass, alternative methods? I'm in total agreement that it needs to be removed in the event that it could be cancerous but is there any other way they can get to the mass without entrance from her chest?
Thank you for reading and I anxiously wait your response.
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hi.  Mediastinoscopy with biopsy can be done first before resorting to a more invasive procedure like opening the sternum (called thoracotomy).  Mediastinoscopy still involves making an incision on the chest, but this is small -  just enough to insert a scope which can view the contents of the chest and take a biopsy of the mass.  If the biopsy turns out to be non-cancerous, then there may be no need to do a thoracotomy.
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