What is a parathyroid tumor?
A parathyroid tumor is a growth inside a parathyroid gland. The parathyroid glands
are 4 small, pea-sized glands located in your neck near the thyroid gland. They’re
part of the endocrine system. This system controls hormones in your body. The parathyroid
glands make parathyroid hormone. This regulates the levels of calcium and phosphorus
in your blood. Parathyroid tumors may increase the levels of parathyroid hormones.
This leads to more calcium in your blood. This is called hypercalcemia. Most parathyroid
tumors are benign (noncancerous) adenomas. Parathyroid cancers are very rare.
What are symptoms of a parathyroid tumor?
If the parathyroid tumor causes symptoms, they may include:
Aches and pains, especially in your bones
Kidney problems, including pain in your upper back or side
Loss of appetite and intense thirst
Urinating more than normal
The symptoms of a parathyroid tumor may look like other health issues. Only your healthcare
provider can diagnose you with this condition. See your healthcare provider if you
have these symptoms.
Treatment for a parathyroid tumor
Surgery is the main treatment for parathyroid tumors. The goal is to remove as much
of it as possible. Before surgery, you may need treatment to control the amount of
calcium in your blood.
In some cases, a parathyroid tumor doesn’t need to be taken out. It may only need
to be removed if your calcium level has reached a certain point or if you have severe
If the tumor is cancer, you may need radiation therapy. This is done to kill the cancer
cells or help keep them from growing and spreading. Chemotherapy may also be used
to help do the same thing. In some situations, you may need medicines that lower calcium
levels in your blood.
Talk with your healthcare provider
If you have questions about parathyroid tumor or parathyroid cancer, talk with your
healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can help you understand more about it
and how to best treat it.