The recovery from treatment for thymic cancer depends on the stage of the disease and the treatment used. In general, recovery is faster for people who received only surgery, compared with people who received a combination of treatments. And people who received minimally invasive surgery will recover faster than those who had open surgery.
Because of the chance for recurrence and metastasis, however, your care does not end when your active treatment ends. You will need to have regular checkups, including scans, to make sure the cancer has not returned. The frequency of these check ups depend on the type and stage of cancer you had.
The recommended follow up with CT scans is every 6 months (6 to 12 months if you have a complete resection of an encapsulated thymoma) for two years, then annually for five years for Thymic carcinoma and ten years for thymoma. Your doctor may suggest more or less depending on your individual situation.
Managing Side Effects
There are side effects to every treatment. Some of them may be minor and short-lived, while others may be more serious and long lasting. In fact, some side effects, both physical and psychological, might not even develop until some time after treatment stops.
There may even be risks of a second type of cancer, particularly after radiation therapy.v
Continue with your periodic follow-up visits, and keep good records of your treatments and side effects.
For Long Term Patients
There are cases where Thymic cancer becomes a chronic condition. Treatment either cannot erase the cancer from your body, or it reappears months, even years, after your initial treatment.
People in this type of situation face ongoing treatment…additional surgeries, chemotherapy, or radiation to deal with whatever recurrence they newly face. Each of these recurrences must be dealt with as they appear.
Sometimes new occurrences appear in previous radiated areas and cannot be radiated again. And there are some chemotherapy drugs that cannot be used again because of dangers they present.
You and your doctor need to discuss this process and weigh all the options.