Parathyroid Cancer: Questions to Ask the Doctor

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some questions to ask your doctor or other members of your health care team, to help you better understand your diagnosis, treatment plan, and overall care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Talking often with the doctor is important to make informed decisions about your health care. These suggested questions are a starting point to help you learn more about your cancer care and treatment. You are also encouraged to ask additional questions that are important to you. You may want to print this list and bring it to your next appointment, or download Cancer.Net’s free mobile app for an e-list and other interactive tools to manage your care.

  • Could my parathyroid tumor be cancerous?
  • Can you explain my pathology report, or laboratory test results, to me?
  • Are more tests needed to determine if the tumor is cancerous?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What clinical trials are open to me? Where are they located, and how do I find out more about them?
  • Which treatment plan do you recommend? Why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the tumor, help me feel better, or both?
  • Will I be treated for hypercalcemia? If so, why is this important?
  • If I need surgery, how experienced is my surgeon in parathyroid surgery?
  • How extensive will the surgery be? What can I expect from this type of surgery?
  • Could surgery affect my appearance? Is minimally invasive surgery an option?
  • Is the rapid “parathyroid test” available in the operating room to determine if all abnormal tissue has been removed?
  • Who will be part of my health care team, and what does each member do?
  • Who will be coordinating my overall treatment and follow-up care?
  • What are the possible side effects of this treatment, both in the short term and the long term?
  • How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?
  • Could this treatment affect my sex life? If so, how and for how long?
  • Could this treatment affect my ability to become pregnant or have children? If so, should I talk with a fertility specialist before treatment begins?
  • If I am worried about managing the costs related to my medical care, who can help me with these concerns?
  • What are the chances that the tumor will recur?
  • What follow-up tests will I need, and how often will I need them?
  • How can I keep myself as healthy as possible during and after treatment?
  • What support services are available to me? To my family?
  • Whom should I call for questions or problems?

The next section offers some more resources that may be helpful to you. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Additional Resources, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.