How are Mediastinal Tumors Diagnosed?


The following tests may be used to diagnose and evaluate mediastinal tumors. Your doctor will choose the tests that are most appropriate for you and your condition.

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, will take your temperature, check for lumps, and ask about weight loss, shortness of breath, and wheezing
  • Blood tests: Your doctor may take blood samples to measure the levels of certain components and substances in the blood that could indicate disease
  • X-ray of the chest, lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs, and diaphragm
  • Computed tomography (CT) with an IV contrast agent: CT tests use a series of X-rays and a computer to produce a detailed image of the inside your body. Iodine-based contrast materials injected into a vein (intravenously) are used to enhance the visibility of tumors in CT images.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the chest – This imaging technique creates detailed images of soft tissues in the chest (thoracic area). An IV contrast agent may be used. This scan allows doctors to identify unusual tissue in the body, which can help them diagnose cancer and plan for surgery and other treatments.
  • Surgical removal of the tumor mass
  • Mediastinoscopy with biopsy - In this test, an instrument is inserted through the neck to the mediastinum area (chest) and a sample tissue is taken and examined in the laboratory.
  • Needle biopsy or aspiration or CT-guided needle biopsy – A needle and a syringe are used to remove a sample from a growth or other irregular tissue of the chest. The material is then examined in the laboratory to find out the cause of the irregular tissue.
  • Esophagoscopy – In this procedure, a flexible endoscope is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus. Magnified images are then displayed on a video screen.
  • Bronchoscopy - A thin, flexible tube with a light and a lens or small video camera is inserted through your nose or mouth, down your throat, into your trachea (windpipe), and into the airways of the lungs. Bronchoscopy is used to look inside the lungs for problems in the airways and signs of cancer.

How are Mediastinal Tumors Treated?


The treatment used for mediastinal tumors depends on the type of tumor and its location. Treatment may include surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy in which anticancer drugs are used to destroy the cancer cells, or radiation treatment that uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. as well Antibody drug conjugates and immunotherapies may also be used.

Treatment for specific mediastinal tumors include:

  • Thymomas – Treatment includes surgery which is followed by radiation if needed. In advanced cases, chemotherapy may be given.
  • Thymic cancers – Treatment typically involves surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Immunotherapy may also be given for advanced cases.
  • Lymphomas – Chemotherapy is the primary treatment which may be followed by radiation. Antibody drug conjugates and immunotherapies are also standard treatments for mediastinal lymphomas.
  • Germ cell tumors – Treatment usually includes chemotherapy
  • Neurogenic tumors – Surgery is used to remove tumors from the posterior mediastinum
  • Tumors that are not cancerous may require only watchful but no treatment. Your doctor will monitor your condition closely to see if symptoms change.
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