Thymus cancer

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Treatments for stage 2 thymus cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 2 thymus cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Surgery

Surgery is the main treatment for stage 2 thymus cancer. It may be the only treatment needed. A total thymectomy is done to completely remove the thymus. Any cancer that has grown into tissue around the thymus is removed at the same time.

Radiation therapy

You may be offered radiation therapy after surgery for stage 2 thymus cancer. External radiation therapy may be used if there is a high risk that the cancer will come back (recur), such as if:

  • the cancer was not completely removed by surgery
  • there is cancer in the surgical margin or close to it
  • the cancer is classified as World Health Organization (WHO) type B1, B2 or B3
  • the tumour is attached to the pericardium

External radiation therapy may also be used after surgery for thymic carcinoma or when surgery can’t be done. It may be given at the same time as chemotherapy. This is called chemoradiation.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is not usually offered for stage 2 thymus cancer. But it may be used after surgery for thymic carcinoma or when surgery can’t be done. A chemotherapy combination, often with cisplatin (Platinol AQ), may be used alone or given at the same time as radiation therapy (called chemoradiation).

Clinical trials

Talk to your doctor about clinical trials open to people with thymus cancer in Canada. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

margin

The area of normal tissue surrounding a tumour that is removed along with the tumour during surgery.

The margin may be described as negative or clean if no cancer cells are found at the edge of the tissue. It may be described as positive or involved if cancer cells are found at the edge of the tissue, which suggests that not all of the cancer was removed.

pericardium

The double-layered sac that surrounds the heart. It protects the heart and produces a fluid that acts like a lubricant so the heart can move normally in the chest.

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