Get answers to your Head & Neck Cancer questions.
Symptoms of parathyroid cancer are primarily caused by high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia), and may affect various parts of the body. They include:
It is important to note that only about 1 out of 200 people with primary hyperparathyroidism have parathyroid cancer.
Parathyroid cancer is extremely hard to diagnose.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your medical history.
In about half of all cases, feeling the neck with the hands (palpation) can reveal a cancerous parathyroid tumor.
Cancerous parathyroid tumors tend to produce very high amounts of parathyroid hormone (PTH). Tests may include:
Before surgery, you will undergo a special radioactive scan of the parathyroid glands. The scan is called the sestamibi scan. You may also have a neck ultrasound. These tests are done to confirm which parathyroid gland is abnormal.
Bringhurst R, Demay MB, Kronenberg HM. Hormones and disorders of mineral metabolism. In: Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 27.
Wysolmerski JJ, Insogna KL. The parathyroid glands, hypercalcemia, and hypocalcemia. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 266.
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