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Parathyroid Cancer

 201-227-6008   |    cancer@holyname.org

Overview

Parathyroid cancer is a rare cancer that forms in the parathyroid glands, four small glands in the neck near the thyroid gland. These glands are responsible for regulating calcium levels in our blood and bones. Most tumors that occur in the parathyroid glands are benign. Symptoms are caused by the secretion of hormones.

Less than 100 cases of parathyroid cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S.

The Patricia Lynch Cancer Center at Holy Name has a multi-disciplinary team of experienced and skilled ENT surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses and support staff to treat parathyroid cancer. Together they provide a compassionate, unified approach in creating a personal strategy for each patient's unique medical, emotional and lifestyle needs.


  • Weakness/fatigue

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Decreased appetite

  • Lump in the neck

  • Weight loss

  • Increased thirst

  • Urinary frequency

  • Constipation

  • Family history of parathyroid cancer

  • Physical exam

  • Blood tests - PTH level and calcium

  • CT scan

  • SPECT scan

  • Ultrasound

  • MRI

  • Surgical removal of an enlarged gland

Surgery is the most common and best treatment for parathyroid cancer. At times, some of the surrounding lymph glands or part of the thyroid gland may also need to be removed. Radiation therapy is typically used in cases when the cancer wasn't completely removed or for recurring parathyroid cancer. To date, there has been no proven benefit to using chemotherapy.