Another name for parathyroid cancer is parathyroid carcinoma. This type of cancer is very rare and can equally afflict men as well as women. The cancer itself is known to grow slowly. One concern is parathyroid cancer may spread to different places in the body, such as lungs and bones. This generally happens if the cancer is not detected early on or treatment hasn’t occurred. This particular type of cancer should undergo treatment as soon as possible. It is important even after treatment to consult regularly with a physician to make sure it doesn’t reappear.
The parathyroid is made up of four pea-sized glands, two on each lobe of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland found at the base of the neck. While the cause of parathyroid is unknown, exposure to head or neck radiation may increase the odds of an occurrence of parathyroid cancer.
The parathyroid is responsible for the levels of calcium in the body. High levels of calcium in the blood may cause this type of cancer. The cancer causes calcium, which is stored in bones to move into the blood system. It also causes excess calcium to be absorbed into the intestines.
To diagnose parathyroid cancer, calcium levels are often tested. A result that indicates higher than average calcium levels may be a sign that cancer is prevalent. Unfortunately parathyroid cancer is very hard to diagnose, as the symptoms of the cancer are very similar to other ailments.
Some symptoms often associated with this condition include weakness, fatigue, exhaustion, a feeling of nausea, deep-seated thirst, needing to urinate frequently, constipation, kidney stones, muscle fatigue, losing weight unexpectedly, loss of appetite, ongoing pain in the abdomen, bone fractures as well as pain or aching in the bones.
Another sign of a possible problem would be a lump near the thyroid. Testing may be done to determine whether or not cancer is present and how far it has progressed.
Surgery is the most common recommendation to remove the cancer. Drugs may also be administered in order to bring down the levels of calcium in the body and to get the body to not absorb the calcium.
As with any type of cancer, the earlier the detection, the better the odds for survival. If a patient experiences any of the above symptoms, a doctor or physician should be consulted. If a patient finds a lump in their neck, a specialist should be consulted. The longer any type of cancer is left untreated, the greater the odds the cancer will spread to other parts of the body.