What are Cardiac Tumours?
Cardiac tumours refer to an abnormal mass of tissue in your heart due to uncontrolled growth of heart cells. Cardiac tumours can be classified as non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant) tumours.
Benign cardiac tumours don’t spread to other areas, but may continue to grow bigger and sometimes lead to blockage in parts of your heart. Malignant cardiac tumours can spread (metastasise) to other parts of your body and can be fatal.
Symptoms of Cardiac Tumours
Symptoms of cardiac tumours depend on the location, nature and size of the tumour. Certain cardiac tumours may be asymptomatic. However, most cause the following non-specific symptoms:
- Chest pain
Malignant heart tumours may cause the following symptoms:
- Obstruction of blood flow in the heart
- Abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmias)
- Loss of consciousness
Diagnosis of Cardiac Tumours
Your doctor will enquire about your symptoms and may recommend an echocardiogram, computed tomography (CT) scan, or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. For a detailed diagnosis, you may have to undergo a biopsy which involves making a small incision in your chest and taking a sample of tissue from your cardiac tumour to view under a microscope.
Treatment of Cardiac Tumours
Treatment depends on the nature and size of the cardiac tumour. The sooner you are diagnosed, the better the likelihood of successful treatment and recovery.
- Benign tumours can be removed via open-heart surgery with a high success rate. Open-heart surgery involves opening your chest wall and removing the tumour.
- For malignant tumours, you will be required to take combination treatment that involves medication, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. Surgery involves removal of the tumour, and the damaged parts of your heart may require repair and reconstruction.