Parathyroid Cancer: Questions to Ask the Doctor

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2015

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.

Questions to ask after getting a diagnosis

  • Could my parathyroid tumor be cancerous?

  • Can you explain my pathology report, or laboratory test results, to me?

  • Are more tests needed to find out if the tumor is cancerous?

  • Questions to ask about choosing a treatment and managing side effects

  • 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?

Questions to ask about having 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?

  • What experience has my surgeon had with parathyroid surgery?

  • 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?

Questions to ask about planning follow-up care

  • What is the risk of the cancer returning? Are there signs and symptoms I should watch for?

  • What long-term side effects or late effects are possible based on the cancer treatment I received?

  • What follow-up tests will I need, and how often will I need them?

  • How do I get a treatment summary and survivorship care plan to keep in my personal records?

  • Who will be coordinating my follow-up care?

  • What survivorship support services are available to me? To my family? 

The next section in this guide is Additional Resources, and it offers some more resources on this website beyond this guide that may be helpful to you. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.