ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with parathyroid cancer each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.
Almost all tumors that develop in the parathyroid gland are benign. It is important to note that even benign parathyroid tumors need prompt medical care. If they are not removed completely or properly, they can come back and be very difficult to control. They may result in hypercalcemia that is difficult to control or could cause death.
Parathyroid cancer is quite rare. There are likely fewer than 100 cases diagnosed each year in the United States. The disease is most often diagnosed in people in their 40s and 50s, and men and women are equally affected.
The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The current 5-year survival rate for people with parathyroid cancer ranges broadly, from 85% to 20%. Talk with your doctor about what factors affect a prognosis, which is the chance of recovery.
It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with parathyroid cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society website, Lawrence Kim, MD, "Parathyroid Carcinoma," Medscape, updated August 29, 2018, and the National Institutes of Health (all accessed January 2020).
The next section in this guide is Risk Factors. It explains what factors may increase the chance of developing parathyroid cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.