Four standard treatments are used to fight parathyroid cancer and to lessen its symptoms:
- Radiation therapy
- Supportive care
The most common treatment for parathyroid cancer is Surgery to remove the cancer. Sometimes lymph nodes and the part of the thyroid gland on the side of the cancer, as well as some of the neck muscle and a nerve in the neck, must also be removed. This surgery can cause damage to nerves of the vocal cords, which results in speech problems. Your doctor can prescribe treatment for speech difficulties.
External Beam Radiation Therapy and Chemotherapy are also used in treating parathyroid cancer. In addition, treatment to relieve the symptoms of hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood) caused by the parathyroid cancer may be given. Intravenous fluids are given to increase the loss of calcium through urine, and medications stop the body from absorbing calcium from food. Other medications will stop calcium removal from bone into the blood stream, and others will keep the parathyroid gland from making parathyroid hormone.
Parathyroid cancer requires lifelong follow-up care because it frequently returns. At SCCA, you will be followed on a regular basis to ensure that any recurrence is caught early.
While undergoing treatment for cancer, you may read or hear about other therapies that sound tempting. While some may make you feel better, others may cause harm.
Radioiodine therapy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy all increase your risk of developing a second cancer later.