|Other encyclopedia topics:||A-Ag Ah-Ap Aq-Az B-Bk Bl-Bz C-Cg Ch-Co Cp-Cz D-Di Dj-Dz E-Ep Eq-Ez F G H-Hf Hg-Hz I-In Io-Iz J K L-Ln Lo-Lz M-Mf Mg-Mz N O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q R S-Sh Si-Sp Sq-Sz T-Tn To-Tz U V W X Y Z 0-9|
|Contents of this page:|
Alternative Names Return to topThymoma - mediastinal; Lymphoma - mediastinal
Definition Return to top
Mediastinal tumors are growths that form in the area that separates the lungs. This area contains the heart, large blood vessels, windpipe (trachea), thymus gland, and connective tissues.
Causes Return to top
The mediastinum is the part of the chest that lies between the sternum and the spinal column, and between the lungs. It contains the esophagus, trachea, heart, and other important structures. The mediastinum is divided into three sections:
Mediastinal tumors are rare.
The most common location for tumors in the mediastinum depends on the age of the patient. In children, tumors are more common in the posterior mediastinum. These tumors often begin in the nerves and are non-cancerous (benign).
Most mediastinal tumors in adults occur in the anterior mediastinum and are usually cancerous (malignant) lymphomas or thymomas. These tumors are most common in people ages 30 - 50.
Symptoms Return to top
Almost half of mediastinal tumors cause no symptoms and are found on a chest x-ray performed for another reason. Symptoms that do occur are due to pressure on (compression of) local structures and may include:
Exams and Tests Return to top
A medical history and physical examination may show:
Further testing may include:
Treatment Return to top
Treatment for mediastinal tumors depends on the type of tumor.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The outcome depends on the type of tumor. Different tumors respond differently to chemotherapy and radiation.
Possible Complications Return to top
Complications of mediastinal tumors include:
Radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy can all have serious complications.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you notice symptoms of a mediastinal tumor.Update Date: 9/13/2008 Updated by: Benjamin Medoff, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Pulmonary and Critical Care Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.