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Mediastinal tumor

  • Definition

    Mediastinal tumors are growths that form in the middle of the chest area, which separates the lungs.


    Alternative Names

    Thymoma - mediastinal; Lymphoma - mediastinal


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    The mediastinum is the part of the chest that lies between the sternum and the spinal column, and between the lungs. This area contains the heart, large blood vessels, windpipe (trachea), thymus gland, and connective tissues. The mediastinum is divided into three sections:

    • Anterior (front)
    • Middle
    • Posterior (back)

    Mediastinal tumors are rare.

    The most common location for tumors in the mediastinum depends on the age of the patient. In children, tumors are more common in the posterior mediastinum. These tumors often begin in the nerves and are non-cancerous (benign).

    Most mediastinal tumors in adults occur in the anterior mediastinum and are usually cancerous (malignant) lymphomas or thymomas. These tumors are most common in people ages 30 - 50.


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Lungs