Risk factors for thymus cancer
A risk factor is something that increases the risk of developing cancer. It could be a behaviour, substance or condition. Most cancers are the result of many risk factors, but there are no known risk factors for thymus cancer.
Thymus cancer is rare. It is mainly diagnosed in middle-aged and elderly people. It develops in men and women at about the same rate. Thymus cancer seems to happen more often in people of Asian, Pacific Island and African ancestry.
The following are possible risk factors for thymus cancer. These risk factors are not modifiable. This means that you can’t avoid them. Until we learn more about these risk factors, there are no specific ways you can reduce your risk.
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The following conditions have been linked with thymoma, which is the most common cancerous tumour of the thymus. But there is not enough evidence to show for sure that these conditions are risk factors. More research is needed to completely understand how they affect the thymus.
Myasthenia gravis is an
Pure red cell aplasia is when the
Hypogammaglobulinemia is when the body doesn’t have enough
Talk to your doctor about your risk. Having one of these conditions can be the first sign of a thymoma so your doctor may want to check for this cancer.
American Cancer Society. Thymus Cancer Causes, Risk Factors and Prevention. 2017: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/thymus-cancer/causes-risks-prevention.html.
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Chen J, Yang Y, Zhu D, et al . Thymoma with pure red cell aplasia and Good’s syndrome. Annals of Thoracic Surgery. http://www.annalsthoracicsurgery.org/article/S0003-4975(10)02247-2/fulltext.
Engels EA . Epidemiology of thymoma and associated malignancies. Journal of Thoracic Oncology. 2010: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951303/.
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Kelesidis T, Yang O . Good's syndrome remains a mystery after 55 years: a systematic review of the scientific evidence. Clinical Immunology. 2010.
Kumar R . Myasthenia gravis and thymic neoplasms: a brief review. World Journal of Clinical Cases. 2015: https://www.wjgnet.com/2307-8960/full/v3/i12/980.htm.
Shah AJ. Medscape Reference: Hypogammaglobulinemia. 2017: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/136471-overview.
US National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Myasthenia Gravis. 2016: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000712.htm.