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Diaphragm Tumors

The diaphragm, located between the thoracic and abdominal cavities, is a vital organ that separates the two parts. It is responsible for 80% of respiration. In diaphragmatic diseases, significant risks may affect the patient's health, primarily because the respiratory mechanics are impaired. In the case of tumor formation, many tissues, especially respiration, can be adversely affected. This article discusses diaphragm tumors, their symptoms, and treatment methods.

What is a Diaphragm Tumor?

The diaphragm is an organ that stands out with its function during breathing. Diaphragm, which contracts during breathing, is the most crucial organ that expands the chest cavity with the contraction of the rib muscles. These movements of the diaphragm provide significant support for breathing. Any tumor that will form in the diaphragm causes substantial impairment of respiratory function, as these functions do not occur properly.

The incidence of diaphragmatic tumors is extremely rare.

A tumor of the diaphragm, anatomically connected to the thorax, can spread to neighboring vital organs in the thoracic and abdominal cavities.

What are the Causes of Diaphragm Tumors?

Diaphragm tumor occurs mainly due to two reasons: The first is structural disorders, and the other is diaphragmatic traumas.

  • Structural Disorders: Diaphragmatic hernia, various tumors, and functional disorders cause damage to the diaphragm structure. As a result, nerve palsy can develop. Frequent repetitions of these conditions cause tumor and cancer formation.
  • Diaphragm Traumas: Tumor development may occur if tear and trauma formation is observed in the diaphragm. Diaphragm structure damage is common in sudden stops, hard hits, and getting stuck. In severe damage, the diaphragm bleeds, and these bleedings cause blood accumulation in the lungs. As a result of traumas such as bleeding, tears, and punctures, bacterial formation is common in the region, and a tumor occurs over time.
  • Other Reasons: Tobacco consumption may also result in regional tumor formation. Symptoms such as the inability to get total efficiency from the lungs and frequent coughing occur in these people.

Diaphragmatic tumors are often (60%) benign. Benign diaphragmatic tumors usually manifest as cysts and sebaceous glands (lipomas) in the diaphragm. Malignant tumors occur in the form of swelling and painful fibrosarcomas and rhabdomyosarcomas. On the other hand, metastatic tumors can be benign or malignant.

Who Develops Diaphragm Tumor?

Although a diaphragmatic tumor is a sporadic tumor, it is usually benign. However, in addition to its tumors in the diaphragm, it can also be metastatic from the liver or lung. Diaphragm tumors, often benign, have almost the same incidence in men and women but are slightly more common in women.

It mainly occurs between the ages of 40-50. In patients with other organ cancer, there is a possibility that cancer may spread to the diaphragm by blood or lymph. On the other hand, since the diaphragm is adjacent to many organs, it is difficult to determine its characteristic features. It is often confused with other organ malignancies.

What are the Symptoms of a Diaphragm Tumor?

The presence of a tumor in the diaphragm manifests itself with symptoms such as severe cough, pain, and difficulty in breathing. In addition, bloody saliva may also occur. In addition, tumors that cause difficulty breathing can cause bacteria formation, leading to complaints such as fatigue and shortness of breath in the patient.

Diaphragmatic tumor manifests themselves with symptoms such as hemoptysis, chest asymmetry, visible mass formation, and pneumothorax in the chest; It causes symptoms such as abdominal tenderness, pain, vomiting, and nausea. Other most common symptoms of diaphragmatic tumors are:

  • Severe pain in the lower back and abdomen
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Low oxygen level
  • Pain in chest and shoulders
  • Hypertension
  • Palpitation
  • Recurrent pneumonia

When an asymptomatic tumor of the diaphragm is not intervened, cancer may spread to the lungs first and then to the whole body and become fatal. Therefore, patients with diaphragmatic tumors need treatment immediately.

How Is A Diaphragm Tumor Treated?

Diaphragm tumors are hazardous diseases. Immediate intervention is essential for the patient. Otherwise, the condition may progress very rapidly and cause irreversible damage.

Untreated diaphragm tumors can lead to metastasis in the whole body and cause the patient's death. In this case, the primary treatment method is chemotherapy. Additional medications may be used with the recommendation of a physician.

The most crucial treatment of diaphragm tumors is to visit your physician and strictly follow the physician's warnings. It is essential to monitor and regularly control cancer in patients to protect other tissues and organs.
Different imaging techniques, such as CT and MR, are used in diagnosis. In case of malignant tumor development, the priority is surgery. In advanced local tumors, combined treatment methods are preferred.
With regular control and follow-up, patients can fully recover. However, this disease can develop at different levels, so timely intervention is vital. Therefore, in untreated advanced tumors, the condition can result in death.

How is Diaphragm Tumor Diagnosed?

Diaphragm tumor detection is challenging because the disease can sometimes be confused with problems involving different tissues and organs. We prefer advanced imaging techniques for definitive diagnosis. Some of these techniques are:

  • Precise imaging with chest X-ray and CT/MR examination
  • Phrenic nerve stimulation test
  • Ultrasound
  • Breathing test
  • Blood gas test
  • Histopathological tissue examination

How Is Diaphragm Tumor Surgery Performed?

After the staging of the diaphragm tumor, the patient first needs a surgical operation. In this case, we excise the tumorous structure.

The definitive treatment method to be applied to the patient depends on the tumor's spread, the patient's general condition, and the tumor's location. In some patients, endoscopy may be needed during the operation. For the definitive surgical method, you should consult your physician.