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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Symptoms

Symptoms of parathyroid cancer include

  • a small lump in the front of the neck

  • pain in the back or side and blood in the urine (caused by kidney stones)

  • bone pain or broke bones

  • hoarseness (caused by cancer invading the vocal cords or their nerves)

  • trouble swallowing

  • constipation

  • urinating more than normal

  • weakness

  • loss of appetite

  • weight loss for no known reason

  • vomiting

  • confusion and other neurological changes.

Because the rise in calcium can be gradual in people with parathyroid cancer, the body is able to adapt. Patients often have only minor symptoms, even if they have calcium levels that would be fatal if reached rapidly.

An enlarged parathyroid gland does not necessarily mean you have cancer. The gland can be enlarged for other reasons. For example, a noncancerous tumor called a parathyroid adenoma can cause a gland to enlarge.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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