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Mediastinal Tumor

Overview

Mediastinal tumors are benign or cancerous growths that are formed in the area of the chest that separates the lungs. Mediastinum tumors are mostly made of germ (reproductive) cells or develop in neurogenic (nerve), thymic, lymphatic or mesenchymal (soft) tissue. Mediastinal tumors are rare and are usually diagnosed in patients aged from 30 to 50 years, however they can develop at any age and form from any tissue that exists in or passes through the chest cavity.

Symptoms

It is noted that almost 40% of patients who have mediastinal tumors experience no symptoms. In patients where symptoms are seen they are:

Cough

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fever, chills, and night sweats
  • Coughing up blood
  • Hoarseness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lymphadenopathy (swollen or tender lymph nodes)
  • Wheezing
  • Stridor (a high-pitched- noisy respiration - which can be a sign of respiratory obstruction - especially in the trachea or larynx)

Causes

The causes of mediastinal tumors are linked to where they form in the mediastinum.

  • Anterior (front) mediastinum
    • Germ cell
    • Lymphoma
    • Thymoma and thymic cyst
    • Thyroid mass mediastinal
  • Middle mediastinum
    • Bronchogenic cyst
    • Lymphadenopathy mediastinal
    • Pericardial cyst
    • Thyroid mass mediastinal
    • Tracheal tumors
    • Vascular abnormalities including aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection.
  • Posterior (back) mediastinum
    • Extramedullary haematopoiesis
    • Lymphadenopathy mediastinal
    • Neuroenteric cyst mediastinal
    • Neurogenic neoplasm mediastinal