Parathyroid Cancer Facts

Parathyroid Cancer Facts

The parathyroid glands make parathyroid hormone or PTH, which helps maintain the level of calcium in your blood. Parathyroid cancer causes increased calcium in your blood, which can be life-threatening.


Parathyroid cancer causes high levels of blood calcium (hypercalcemia) resulting in some noticeable symptoms such as the following:

  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • frequent urination and dehydration
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • increased thirst
  • persistent pain in the abdomen, side, or back
  • lump in the neck
  • hoarseness
  • trouble swallowing
  • bone pain

Your doctor will take a complete history and physical and then order a number of tests. The following are some of the tests that may be performed:

  • blood chemistry
  • parathyroid hormone test
  • CT scan
  • ultrasound
  • venous sampling
  • MRI
  • Genetic screening

Risk Factors

The following inherited disorders may increase your risk of parathyroid disease:

  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type I (MEN I) or II, conditions caused by an abnormal gene (RET)
  • Familial Isolated Hyperparathyroidism (FIPH), a condition in which tumors form in the parathyroid glands causing them to make too much parathyroid hormone.