Parathyroid Cancer: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.

A person with a parathyroid tumor may experience the following symptoms or signs. Symptoms are changes that you can feel in your body. Signs are changes in something measured, like by taking your blood pressure or doing a lab test. Together, symptoms and signs can help describe a medical problem. Sometimes, a person with a parathyroid tumor does not have any of the symptoms and signs described below. Or, the cause of a symptom may be a medical condition that is not a tumor.

  • Bone pain

  • Kidney problems, including pain in the upper back and excessive urination

  • Stomach pain

  • History of gastroduodenal ulcers, which are ulcers found in the stomach and/or small intestine

  • Weakness

  • Difficulty speaking

  • Vomiting

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Confusion

  • A lump in the neck

  • Insomnia, which is trouble sleeping

  • Malaise, a general feeling of discomfort or illness

The doctor may discover a problem if a blood test shows an increased level of calcium in the blood, a condition called hypercalcemia.

If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. You doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help figure out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If a parathyroid tumor is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of care and treatment. Managing symptoms may also be called "palliative care" or "supportive care." It is often started soon after diagnosis and continued throughout treatment. Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.