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Recurrent thymoma refers to a thymoma that comes back after it has been successfully treated. Recurrent cancer can develop in the same area where a tumor developed initially or elsewhere in the body. For a tumor to be considered recurrent, there must be a period of time during which no cancer is detected. A tumor that partially responds to treatment but eventually starts to grow again is not considered a recurrent thymoma; rather, it is a progression of the initial cancer. Depending on where in the body the cancer comes back and how large the tumor is at the time it is diagnosed, several different treatments can be used for recurrent thymoma. For instance:

  • A surgeon may conduct a second surgery to remove part or all of a recurrent tumor. Not all patients are good candidates for a second resection, but patients who are able to undergo an additional operation often experience positive results.
  • A medical oncologist may create a targeted combination of chemotherapy drugs that have produced very high response rates (some more than 90 percent) in clinical trials for recurrent thymoma.
  • A radiation oncologist may recommend radiation therapy to help shrink or destroy a recurrent tumor.
  • An oncologist may prescribe corticosteroids (synthetic hormones) for patients who cannot have a recurrent tumor resected or have not responded well to radiation therapy in the past.

Moffitt Cancer Center’s Thoracic Oncology Program offers all of these options and more under one roof for the ease and convenience of our patients. Our multispecialty tumor board reviews each patient’s case on an individual basis, offering tailored recommendations for every situation. This allows us to not only select the most promising therapies for each patient, but also create a distinct strategy for improving his or her quality of life.  To discuss the treatment options for recurrent thymoma with one of Moffitt’s experienced oncologists, you do not need to obtain a referral from your physician. Submit a new patient registration form online or call 1-888-663-3488.