Parathyroid cancer

Alternative Names

Parathyroid carcinoma

Definition of Parathyroid cancer

Parathyroid cancer is a cancerous () growth in a parathyroid gland.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The parathyroid glands are responsible for managing the calcium levels in the body. There are four parathyroid glands, two on top of each lobe of the thyroid gland. They are located at the base of the neck.


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:

Signs and tests

Parathyroid cancer is extremely hard to diagnose.


The following treatments may be used to correct hypercalcemia due to parathyroid cancer:

Expectations (prognosis)

Parathyroid cancer is a rare cancer. The tumor is slow growing. Surgery may help extend life even when the cancer spreads.


David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/2/2010

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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