Parathyroid Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of people who will be diagnosed with parathyroid cancer each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors, and no 2 people with cancer are the same. Use the menu to see other pages.

Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with this cancer and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for you individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.

How many people are diagnosed with parathyroid cancer?

Nearly 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. This type of tumor may result in hypercalcemia of the blood 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 older than 30. Men and women are equally affected. Women have a slightly better prognosis, which is the chance of recovery.

What is the survival rate for parathyroid cancer?

There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from parathyroid cancer. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate. It is often used to predict how having cancer may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with parathyroid cancer are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without this cancer.

Example: Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100. Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years. Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%. This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with parathyroid cancer are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if cancer will or will not shorten their life. Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease.

The 10-year relative survival rate for parathyroid cancer ranges broadly, from 80% to 15%. The survival rates for parathyroid cancer vary based on several factors, including stage of cancer, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works.

Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for parathyroid cancer every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how parathyroid cancer is diagnosed or treated from the last 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 and Lawrence Kim, MD, "Parathyroid Carcinoma," (updated August 3, 2021). (Both sources accessed March 2023.)

The next section in this guide is Risk Factors. It explains the factors that may increase the chance of developing parathyroid cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.