If you are diagnosed with parathyroid disease, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including the type of disease and your general health. Your treatment for parathyroid disease will be customized to your particular needs. One or more of the following therapies may be recommended to treat the cancer or help relieve symptoms.
Treatments for hyperparathyroidism include the following:
The main treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism is surgical removal of the parathyroid gland where the tumor is located. This is called a parathyroidectomy, which is typically an outpatient surgery. There are two ways surgeons perform a parathyroidectomy:
- Targeted/Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy: Imaging exams may indicate which of the four parathyroid glands is causing the condition. In these cases, patients may be candidates for a targeted parathyroidectomy. During this procedure, doctors make a small cut in the neck and remove the gland. They then conduct immediate blood tests that show whether the correct gland was removed.
- Four-gland exploration: The surgeon makes an incision in the neck and examines the four parathyroid glands during surgery to identify and remove the abnormal gland.
Medication may be prescribed to reduce parathyroid hormone levels and control levels of calcium in blood. While this is an option for some, for many patients surgery is better for long-term control of the condition.
Parathyroid cancer treatment
Treatments for parathyroid cancer include the following:
The main treatment for parathyroid cancer is a parathyroidectomy. During this procedure, the surgeon makes a small cut in the neck and removes the cancerous gland along with other surrounding tissue that may be affected by the cancer.
Targeted therapy drugs are designed to stop or slow the growth or spread of cancer. This happens on a cellular level. Cancer cells need specific molecules (often in the form of proteins) to survive, multiply and spread. These molecules are usually made by the genes that cause cancer, as well as the cells themselves. Targeted therapies are designed to interfere with, or target, these molecules or the cancer-causing genes that create them.
Targeted therapies have been evaluated in clinical trials and have shown some success in treating parathyroid cancer.
Medication may be prescribed to reduce calcium levels that result from high levels of parathyroid hormone. These can be given orally or through injections.
Radiation therapy uses powerful, focused beams of energy to kill cancer cells. There are several different radiation therapy techniques. Doctors can use these to accurately target a tumor while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
Radiation is rarely used directly on the parathyroid glands. It can be used on parathyroid cancer that has spread to the bone.
Patients with hypoparathyroidism may be prescribed medication to increase their parathyroid hormone and calcium levels.
Treatment at MD Anderson
Parathyroid disease is treated in our Endocrine Center.
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