Thymus cancer

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Treatments for stage 3 thymus cancer

The following are treatment options for stage 3 thymus cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Surgery

Surgery is usually done for stage 3 thymus cancer. It may be the first treatment, or it may be done after chemotherapy or after chemoradiation (chemotherapy given at the same time as radiation therapy). A total thymectomy is done to completely remove the thymus. Cancer that has grown into tissue around the thymus is removed at the same time.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is usually offered for stage 3 thymus cancer. External radiation therapy may be used:

  • after surgery to lower the risk that the cancer will come back (recur)
  • at the same time as chemotherapy and before surgery to shrink the tumour
  • alone or at the same time as chemotherapy when surgery can’t be done

Chemotherapy

You may be offered chemotherapy for stage 3 thymus cancer. It can be used before surgery to shrink the tumour or when surgery can’t be done. A chemotherapy combination with cisplatin (Platinol AQ) is usually used, either alone or at the same time as radiation therapy.

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.

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