General Thoracic Diseases: Get the Facts

General Thoracic Diseases- Canton, OH

General Thoracic Diseases- CantonGeneral thoracic diseases are diseases that occur in your lungs, esophagus, or chest. Typically, these diseases are treated by cardiothoracic surgeons who specialize in general thoracic surgeries. According to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, here are some of the different kinds of thoracic diseases:

List of General Thoracic Diseases

–       Lung Cancer. Lung cancer occurs mainly in people over the age of 65. Most people who are diagnosed with lung cancer are current or former smokers. However, people who have never smoked before can also be diagnosed with lung cancer. Symptoms of lung cancer include shortness of breath, chest pain, persistent cough, voice changes, and coughing up sputum.

–       Esophageal Cancer. Cancer of the esophagus occurs in is the hollow, muscular tube that moves food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach. Symptoms of this type of cancer include weight loss, cough, hoarseness, and dysphagia.

–       Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. This disease also occurs in the esophagus but is the result of muscles not working properly so that the contents of the stomach flow backward into the esophagus and cause problems such as heartburn or reflux. If this happens more than twice per week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Symptoms include heartburn, reflux, dyspepsia, and shortness of breath.

–       Barrett’s Esophagus. This disease can occur when the reflux from GERD or other conditions continually damages the lining of your esophagus. Symptoms include heartburn, reflux, and dyspepsia.

–       Chest Wall Tumors. The chest cavity is a bone and muscle cage that is framed by the sternum (breastplate), spine, and ribs. The wall of the chest cavity provides rigid protection for your heart, lungs, and liver, but also is flexible to aid in respiration. Sometimes, a single cell on your chest wall can start to grow uncontrollably until it becomes a mass of tissue called a tumor. Symptoms include chest pain and swelling.

–       Mediastinal Tumors. The mediastinum is the chest cavity between the lungs that contains the heart, esophagus, trachea, and other structures. Mediastinal tumors are rare. They are usually diagnosed in patients between the ages of 30 to 50 years, but they can develop at any age. Symptoms include chest pain, cough, hoarseness, shortness of breath, and unexplained weight loss.

–       Achalasia and Esophageal Motility Disorders. These disorders occur when the muscles in your esophagus don’t squeeze properly and it is harder for the food and liquids to reach your stomach. Esophageal motility disorders make it difficult for you to swallow, cause food to come back up into your mouth, and sometimes cause chest pain. Other symptoms include reflux, dysphagia, and pressure in the chest after eating.

–       Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive cancer that affects the thin layer of tissue (mesothelium) that lines your lungs, abdomen, heart, and other organs. Mesothelioma most often affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, chest pain, and swelling of the arms and face.

–       Pleural Diseases. The pleura is the membrane that lines your chest cavity and covers your lungs. The layers of your pleura contain a small amount of fluid that acts as a lubricant as you breathe in and out. The space between the layers is called the pleural cavity. Pleural effusion, which is excess fluid in the pleural cavity, is one of the most common pleural diseases. Symptoms include shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and chest pain.


Dr. Chiuffo and the Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program

Dr. Chiuffo is dedicated to helping you understand and treat your thoracic disease. If you have any questions about general thoracic diseases or the steps we will take to treat them, feel free to contact us at (330) 588-4676 or visit our contact page online.


A picture of Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD wearing his Mercy One doctor attire.

About the Author

Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD Director is an expert in Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery and Bloodless Heart Surgery is the outcome of his commitment to the development and improvement of both of these techniques. He runs a Cardiothoracic Surgery practice and manages Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program where he cares for patients from all over the country and locally. Click here to learn more about Dr. Ciuffo.

Board Certified:
American Board of Surgery
American Board of Thoracic Surgery