Parathyroid cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of a parathyroid gland. Having certain inherited disorders can increase the risk of developing parathyroid cancer.
- Parathyroid cancer is rare cancer that develops in the tissue of your parathyroid glands.
- One of the four parathyroid glands, a component of your endocrine system, becomes affected by parathyroid cancer.
- Usually found in your neck, behind your thyroid, are your parathyroid glands.
- To regulate the level of calcium in your blood, the glands generate the hormone parathyroid.
- In order to treat parathyroid carcinoma, surgery is frequently used.
Parathyroid Cancer Causes
The cause of parathyroid carcinoma is unknown.
The following uncommon genetic conditions—inherited from a family member—are thought to increase the likelihood of developing parathyroid cancer:
- Type I multiple endocrine neoplasias (MEN1).
- Isolated familial hyperparathyroidism (FIHP).
- Syndrome of hyperparathyroidism and jaw tumors.
- Your risk of parathyroid cancer may also increase if you have previously received head or neck radiation therapy.
Parathyroid Cancer Symptoms
The majority of parathyroid cancer symptoms are actually caused by hypercalcemia, which is how they manifest.
Hypercalcemia can cause these symptoms and indications.
- Requiring more frequent bathroom trips (frequent urination).
- Having more thirst than usual.
- Sickness and vomiting
- Not as hungry as usual.
- Quite exhausted.
- Being down in the dumps.
- A lack of memory or forgetfulness.
- Cramps, achy muscles, and/or weakness.
Other signs of parathyroid carcinoma might include:
- The presence of a lump in your neck.
- Experiencing hoarseness or changes in voice.
- Swallowing problems
What exactly are parathyroid glands?
- The majority of people have four pea-sized parathyroid glands behind their thyroid glands.
- The parathyroid glands, like the thyroid, are part of your endocrine system.
- Your parathyroid glands can sometimes be found along your esophagus or in your chest.
- These are referred to as ectopic (in an abnormal location) parathyroid glands.
- Your parathyroid glands regulate the amount of calcium in your blood by producing parathyroid hormone (PTH).
- One or more of your parathyroid glands may occasionally secrete an excessive amount of parathyroid hormone.
- This is referred to as primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT).
- When you have too much parathyroid hormone, your blood calcium levels rise, a condition known as hypercalcemia.
What is the term parathyroid carcinoma cancer?
- Uncontrol in developing in the tissue of your parathyroid glands, parathyroid carcinoma is an uncommon form of cancer.
Parathyroid Cancer Types
Healthcare experts do not name parathyroid cancer using the four-stage system that is typically used for other cancers. Instead, there are three different classifications for parathyroid cancer:
If you have parathyroid cancer, it signifies that it has most likely only migrated to nearby tissues from your parathyroid gland.
- If parathyroid cancer is metastatic, it has spread to other organs such as the pancreas, liver, lungs, lymph nodes, or skeleton.
- At the time of diagnosis, 10% to 30% of persons with parathyroid cancer will already have metastatic disease.
- Your lung, bone, or liver will most likely have been affected by cancer's spread.
- After initial therapy, usually surgical excision of the diseased gland, recurrent parathyroid cancer indicates the cancer returns.
- Recurrence occurs in more than half of patients with parathyroid carcinoma.
- After the initial operation, cancer typically returns two to five years later.
Parathyroid Cancer Diagnosis
The diagnosis of parathyroid carcinoma might be difficult.
- One explanation for this is the similarity in appearance between benign (noncancerous) parathyroid adenoma cells and parathyroid cancer cells.
- The majority of the time, a parathyroid cancer diagnosis is made following the surgical removal of your aberrant, overactive parathyroid gland (parathyroidectomy) and subsequent testing on the tissue. Sometimes the surgeon can identify parathyroid carcinoma while performing surgery.
- The majority of the time, primary hyperparathyroidism is identified after your aberrant, overactive parathyroid gland has been surgically removed (parathyroidectomy).
- On occasion, the operation allows the surgeon to identify parathyroid cancer.
- You might have the following examinations and procedures before having surgery to remove your hyperactive parathyroid gland:
Test for Parathyroid Cancer
Here is some routine blood tests that may be done to check levels of:
- Kidney function (Creatinine, BUN)
- Vitamin D
A 24-hour urine test may be done to check for increased calcium in the urine.
Usually a radioactive sestamibi scan or a CT scan, the parathyroid scan.
In order for your doctor to assess whether cancer has spread (metastasized) to other areas of your body after receiving a diagnosis of parathyroid cancer, you might go through the imaging procedures listed below:
- Sestamibi neck scan - CT (computerized tomography) scan: A CT scan creates several 3D (three-dimensional) images of your body using X-rays and a computer.
- Bone density exam
- Kidney ultrasound or CT scan (may show kidney stones or calcification)
- Kidney x-rays (may show kidney stones)
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce detailed images of your body. It doesn’t use X-rays (radiation).
- Neck ultrasound
Parathyroid Cancer Treatment
- The main treatment option for parathyroid cancer is surgery to remove the cancerous parathyroid gland (en bloc resection).
- If parathyroid cancer has spread, your surgeon may need to remove tissue around your parathyroid gland as well as cancerous tissues elsewhere in your body (metastasized).
For parathyroid cancer, the following surgical procedures may be used:
- En Bloc resection Your surgeon will remove your entire parathyroid gland as well as the capsule that surrounds it. Your surgeon may also need to remove half of your thyroid gland and surrounding tissues, muscle, and nerves on the same side as the cancerous parathyroid gland.
- Tumor debulking entails removing as much of the tumor as possible. Some tumors cannot be removed completely.
- Metastasized Cancer that has spread (metastasized) to other tissues and/or organs in your body, such as your lung, will be removed by your surgeon.
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are uncommon treatments for parathyroid cancer. Your healthcare provider will determine whether chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy are appropriate for you.