Second opinions for mediastinal tumors
Nuvance Health specialists welcome the opportunity to participate in your care. If you have undergone testing or an evaluation elsewhere and would like a second opinion, we are here to help.
A second opinion can confirm your diagnosis and the treatments that are right for your needs. People come to us for second opinions from across the Northeast and overseas
Mediastinal mass symptoms
The symptoms of mediastinal tumors include:
- Chest pain
- Drooping eyelids
- Hoarse voice
- Persistent coughing or coughing up blood
- Wheezing, shortness of breath or noisy, high-pitched breathing
- Unexplained weight loss
Mediastinal tumor types
There are many types of mediastinal tumors, including:
- Thymomas, the most common, are cancers of the thymus. Many thymoma patients also have a condition causing sudden muscle weakness, myasthenia gravis.
- Neurogenic tumors form near the posterior part of the mediastinum. They are typically noncancerous but can become large enough to affect your lungs or spinal cord.
- Foregut cysts are noncancerous, sac-like growths containing fluid or other substances. Small cysts do not cause symptoms. Larger ones typically require surgery.
- Germ cell tumors usually occur in a man’s testicles or woman’s ovaries. Occasionally, they form in the mediastinum. Cancerous mediastinal germ cell tumors can grow large enough to press on nearby structures.
Mediastinal mass diagnosis
We perform a thorough assessment to determine which tests are necessary to diagnose the tumor and determine its severity (staging). We also consider your age, health history and symptoms.
In eligible patients, additional testing may include:
- Computed tomography (CT)-guided biopsy: We use real-time imaging to determine the location of the tumor before taking a tissue sample (biopsy). Doctors assess the biopsy using a microscope.
- Endoscopic or endobronchial ultrasound: After numbing your throat, we insert a thin tube to access the tumor. An ultrasound imaging device at the tip uses soundwaves to capture detailed images.
- Endoscopic ultrasound is for examining mediastinal structures.
- Endobronchial ultrasound helps us evaluate airways in the lungs.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This study uses a powerful magnet, radio waves and a computer to produce 3D images of mediastinal tumors.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: This test uses safe levels of radioactive substance and imaging technology to show cell activity. A PET scan may help us see fine details of the tumor that might not be visible with other tests.
Mediastinal tumor treatments
If the tumor is cancerous or dangerously close to vital organs, treatment typically includes surgery. We remove tumors of all sizes, even if they are attached to veins and organs in the mediastinum. For large or complex mediastinal masses, you may undergo an open procedure instead of robotic surgery.
Other services you may need include:
- Radiation therapy and chemotherapy: Radiation therapy helps shrink the tumor, and chemotherapy or immunotherapy can prevent it from growing. You may receive these treatments before or after surgery, depending on your circumstances. Find out more about radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
- Palliative procedures: If you can’t have surgery, these procedures may shrink the cancer or tumor to relieve pain. Other procedures remove excess fluid from the lungs, making it easier to breathe. We offer a broad range of options.
- Supportive care: These services address side effects and complications of treatment. If you have difficulty eating, dietitians recommend methods for getting the nutrients you need and maintaining a healthy weight. Find out more about supportive care.
- Ongoing monitoring: Tumors can come back even if your initial treatment was successful. Surgeons provide ongoing monitoring to catch the early signs, so you receive timely treatment. If you do not live in the area, you undergo imaging studies near your home. Specialists review the results with you during a virtual visit.