3- What would I do?

What would I do  if I was just diagnosed with Thymoma Cancer?

I wouldn’t Panic!  Probably this is the best kind of cancer to get!  As far as I know the standard treatment for Thymoma cancer is:  1- Surgery to remove the tumor,  2- Radiate the surrounding area, 3- Chemo Therapy.  Doctors may change the order of the treatments to reduce the size of the tumor before surgery!

  1. Surgery
  2. Radiation Therapy (RT)
  3. Chemo Therapy (CT)

Knife Should Not Enter The Tumor:  When I was a kid(1965 over 50 years ago) I, used to listen to our family friend Dr. Momenzadeh who was the chief surgeon at Sina Hospital (the busiest public hospital in Iran). He was a close family friend. He believed that if the knife hits the Tumor,  Cancer will metastasize!  I did not understand what he meant! but now I realized that my 1st surgery was the most important part of my treatment.  If the surgeon would have  remove the tumor intact and all in one piece, I would have a far better fighting chance.

Initial Surgery in Florida  It was the first time that they were cutting me open to remove the tumor.  I went to the operation room with an impression  that the doctors are like god, they know everything and must have devine knowledge (not usually true)!  If the surgeon is not really careful when making the incision to open the sternum, without taking time to check underneath and gradually separate the tumor from the chest wall (avoid touching the tumor).  If they just cut and insert the splitter and separate the chest wall to access inside, there is a good chance that the tumor splits apart and causes trauma with high risk that cancer seedlings travel to other part of the chest and it will cause problem!  i.e. the patient would pay later.

I would discuss all issues with surgical team before signing the waiver and write down my points as a reminder just before going under anesthesia. i.e.  I make sure they knows my concerns.

It is common knowledge that Thoracic Surgeons normally work on issues related to heart, lungs, kidney etc.  They rarely deal with thymoma  which is pushing into chest wall!  Thymoma is a rare cancer and most of the surgeon do not have much experience with it.  Normally the job is assigned to a thoracic surgeon who will treats it as a regular chest surgery (cut the chest-bone in the middle, put the spreader in the incision, open up the chest, do whatever you have to do (heart bypass, install pacemaker,…), clean up,  close, Staple the incision back, and finish as fast as possible (goodbye..).Unfortunately in my case, the tumor was split into 3 parts and was tediously resected and cleanup was not easy.

Radiation Therapy (RT): I yet to find any data that suggest RT is effecting on a primary Thymoma!  However, after surgery, it is sort of standard operation to radiate the  surrounding area so that if there are leftover cancer tissues left they are Killed! I could argue that the benefits of RT in this case is limited. However the side effects and damages to the lung, bones, and other tissues is real and quite extensive.  With 40-50 Gy dose of radiation , the lung tissues are permanently burned and out of commission.  During my 3 round of RT (from different angles) almost all of my left lung was burned out, which meant they would not function, an have limited airflow.  Dead lung parts are easily infected with flue and other disease, blood circulation is not proper.  After only a few years, I started to get frequent pneumonia every year, winters were hurriedness.  It  became so bad that I start to feel that pneumonia will kill me before cancer! I was lucky that my surgeon was open to my suggestion and eventually we removed the left lung all together (about 6 Year ago as of 2015). That again saved my life I had no pneumonia afterward.
My Conclusion: I would be very adamant on RT unless my doctor can show research data that proves it will works for my type of Thymoma.

Chemo Therapy (CT):  I was always afraid of CT.  But as long as I had a strong immune system it was OK.  The new mixtures (tonics) and a proper dosages are quite tolerable.  I Studied the results of research at Indianapolis Hospital, I remember Dr. Loehrer teling me that the size of tumors were reduced because they lost their fat cell, however the malignant cells remained! In fact I realized that CT was also a hit or miss anyways! They try one kind for a round, then they check if it worked! They continue if tumor shrunk!  Out of 4 chemotherapy trials that I had, only 1 of them worked on a tumor that was found in my abdomen (which we were not even sure if it was thymoma)!  It never worked on my chest tumors.

My Conclusion: CT could be effective to reduce the size of the tumor prior to surgery.  But as a cure for my Thymoma, I would make sure there are sufficient data to support it would works for my type of Thymoma.,


Leave a Reply Cancel reply