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Parathyroid Tumor

What is a parathyroid tumor?

A parathyroid tumor is a growth inside a parathyroid gland. The parathyroid glands are 4 small glands located in the neck near the thyroid gland. They are part of the endocrine system that regulates hormones in the body. The parathyroid glands make parathyroid hormone that regulates the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. Parathyroid tumors may cause increased levels of parathyroid hormones, leading to increased levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia). Most parathyroid tumors are benign (noncancerous) adenomas. Cancers of the parathyroid are very rare.

What are symptoms of a parathyroid tumor?

If the parathyroid tumor causes symptoms, they may include:

  • Aches and pains, especially in the bones

  • Kidney problems, including pain in the upper back

  • Depression

  • Abdominal pain

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Fatigue

  • Excessive urination

  • Confusion

  • Muscle weakness

The symptoms of a parathyroid tumor may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Treatment for a parathyroid tumor

Surgery is the main treatment for parathyroid tumors. Radiation therapy and medicines that lower calcium levels in the blood may be needed as well. In some situations, chemotherapy may be recommended. 

Online Medical Reviewer: Dozier, Tennille, RN, BSN, RDMS
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 11/30/2013
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