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Scientists within the medical community are still working to determine what causes thymoma and whether there are any risk factors that make someone more likely to develop this malignancy. Although age seems to play a role—the majority of thymoma cases occur in older adults—there are currently no known genetic, lifestyle or environmental risk factors.

With that being said, studies have suggested that certain conditions affecting the immune system could potentially increase someone’s chances of developing thymoma. These conditions include:

  • Hypogammaglobulinemia
  • Lupus
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Red cell aplasia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Ulcerative colitis

The thymus gland, which is where thymoma develops, is responsible for producing T-cells and regulating the immune system. Researchers believe that the conditions listed above could potentially cause abnormal changes within the cells of the thymus gland, which could in turn lead to the development of thymoma.

It’s important to note that many individuals who have one or more of these immune-related conditions are never diagnosed with thymoma. As such, there’s no definitive link between the two.

Thymoma diagnosis and treatment at Moffitt

Because the absence of thymoma risk factors makes it more difficult to tell whether someone is in danger of developing this condition, it’s especially important to pay attention to the signs and symptoms of the malignancy. If you believe you might have thymoma, we invite you to make an appointment at Moffitt Cancer Center. We’re a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center—the only one based in Florida—and our advanced clinical trials program allows our patients access to promising treatments not yet otherwise available.

Request an appointment at Moffitt Cancer Center by calling 1-888-663-3488 or filling out our new patient registration form online. We’re providing every new patient with rapid access to a cancer expert.