Why choose us for parathyroid tumor and cancer care?
Parathyroid tumors are abnormal growths in your neck that rarely become cancerous. They can cause abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood, leading to heart, brain, bone and kidney problems. Experts at Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, specialize in treating these conditions, so you can get the care you need in one program.
Endocrine and head and neck surgeons work alongside other cancer experts to deliver the therapies that are right for your situation. When patients need surgery, we offer focused parathyroidectomy that offers precise care with small incisions.
Your parathyroid glands are part of the endocrine system. This network of glands produces hormones that help organs do their job.
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What you need to know about parathyroid tumors and cancer
- You have four parathyroid glands located near your voice box and windpipe. These glands secrete chemical messengers (hormones) to regulate calcium. Calcium controls muscle and nerve activity throughout the body.
- With parathyroid tumors and cancer, the body produces abnormally high levels of calcium. You might not notice any problems at first, but too much calcium gradually interferes with organ functioning.
- Parathyroid tumors can also be due to hyperparathyroidism. With this condition, the parathyroid produces abnormally high levels of hormones. Not all cases of hyperparathyroidism are caused by tumors.
- Some people do not experience symptoms, especially if the tumor is small. The first sign of a problem may be higher than normal calcium levels on a blood test taken for other reasons.
- Most people with parathyroid disease are at risk for bone tissue weakening (osteoporosis). When your bones are weak, you face a higher risk of fractures. Timely care from experienced specialists, such as ours, helps you manage this risk.
How to talk to your doctor about parathyroid tumors or cancer
It’s natural to have questions after learning you have parathyroid tumors or cancer. Our doctors are here for you with the answers and reassurance you need.
You might want to ask your doctor about:
- Additional testing that you may need to evaluate abnormal growth or personalize your care
- Diagnosis, including whether it’s cancer
- Treatment options, which typically includes surgery even if it’s not cancer
- Potential treatment side effects and what we can do to help you get relief
- Support to help you manage challenges that could get in the way of your treatment
We explain tests and treatments in ways you can understand, so you know what to expect. You can also bring loved ones with you to care appointments to help you make care decisions.
Conditions we evaluate and treat include:
- Parathyroid hyperplasia: This noncancerous condition occurs when all four parathyroid glands become swollen and overactive. It’s often due to inherited conditions, such as multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN).
- Parathyroid tumor (adenoma): These noncancerous tumors form in one or more parathyroid glands.
- Parathyroid cancer (carcinoma): These fast-growing cancerous growths are rare and require timely care.