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Mediastinal cancer is characterized by the growth of a tumor in the mediastinum, which is the space between the lungs. This means that this type of cancer can end up affecting the trachea, thymus, heart, esophagus and part of the lymphatic system, causing symptoms such as difficulty swallowing or breathing.
Generally, this type of cancer is more common between the ages of 30 and 50, but it can also appear in children, and in these cases it is usually benign and its treatment is easy.
Mediastinal cancer is curable when detected early, and its treatment should be guided by an oncologist, as it may depend on its cause.
Location of mediastinal cancer
The main symptoms of mediastinal cancer include:
- Dry cough, which can develop into productive;
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing;
- Excessive fatigue;
- Fever greater than 38º;
- Weight Loss.
The symptoms of mediastinal cancer vary according to the affected region and, in some cases, may not even cause any type of sign, being only identified during routine exams.
How to confirm the diagnosis
If symptoms appear that indicate suspicion of mediastinal cancer, it is important to perform some tests such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, to confirm the diagnosis, identify the cause and start the most appropriate treatment.
The causes of mediastinal cancer can be:
- Metastasis from another cancer;
- Tumor in thymus;
- Neurogenic tumors;
- Heart cysts.
The causes of mediastinal cancer depend on the affected region, but, in most cases, are related to lung or breast cancer metastases.
How the treatment is done
Treatment for mediastinal cancer should be guided by an oncologist and can usually be done in the hospital using chemotherapy or radiotherapy until the tumor disappears.
In some cases, surgery can also be used to remove cysts, the affected organ or perform transplants.