Treatment for Parathryroid Cancer

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center treats the full range of cancers that can affect endocrine glands, including your parathyroid glands. Our endocrine tumor experts are UW Medicine physicians who also see patients at UW Medical Center - Montlake. They work together closely to provide coordinated, world-class treatment for you.

A diagnosis of cancer can feel overwhelming. We have an experienced, compassionate team ready to help, and we are dedicated to making you well.

Parthyroid Cancer Expertise at Fred Hutch

Everything You Need is Here

We have surgeons, endocrinologists, nuclear medicine doctors, pathologists and medical and radiation oncologists who specialize in parathyroid cancer; the most advanced diagnostic, treatment and recovery programs; and extensive support. Few medical centers in the United States have the level of expertise available at Fred Hutch and UW Medical Center.

Parathyroid Cancer Treatment Tailored to You

Combining their knowledge, skills and experience, your specialists recommend a treatment plan to get the best possible results in your individual situation. This collaboration continues through your care. Each month, our surgeons, endocrinologists and pathologists come together at a meeting called the endocrine tumor board at UW Medical Center - Montlake. They review your case, share their opinions and combine their expertise to ensure you get the best treatment for your disease. 

Team-Based Approach

We view treatment as a collaborative effort. Your personal team includes more than your parathyroid cancer physicians and nurses. Additional experts who specialize in treating people with cancer will be involved if you need them — experts like a palliative care professional, social worker, registered dietitian or pharmacist.

Learn more about Supportive Care Services

Ongoing Care and Support

During and after treatment, your team continues to provide follow-up care on a schedule tailored to you. The Fred Hutch Survivorship Clinic is also here to help you live your healthiest life as a parathyroid cancer survivor.

Learn more about the Survivorship Clinic

Treatment Types

Treatment looks different for different people depending on your diagnosis. We tailor your treatment plan to you. Learn more about the treatment types offered at Fred Hutch. 


Having too much calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia) is a common effect of parathyroid cancer. If you have high blood calcium, this is one of the first things your Fred Hutch team will address. We will provide treatments to reduce your blood calcium and relieve any related symptoms you might have.

Typical treatments include:

  • Getting intravenous (IV) fluids and taking medicines (diuretics) to help your body excrete calcium through your urine
  • Taking medicines to keep your body from absorbing calcium from food
  • Taking medicines to keep your parathyroid from making parathyroid hormone (which controls your blood calcium level)

These are usually short-term treatments, used until doctors can take out your tumor surgically.


Your physicians may recommend chemotherapy too, mainly to help control cancer if it has spread to other parts of your body. Usually chemotherapy medicines are given by infusion into a vein. Some are taken by mouth in pill form. 

Your Fred Hutch team will talk with you about the specific drugs we recommend for you, how you’ll receive them, your treatment schedule and what to expect. We’ll also explain how to take the best possible care of yourself during treatment and after, and we’ll connect you with medical and support resources throughout Fred Hutch.

Learn More About Chemotherapy


The most common treatment for parathyroid cancer is surgery to remove all of the parathyroid gland and tumor. Based on the extent of the cancer, surgeons may also need to remove other tissues right around or near the parathyroid. This might include lymph nodes in the area, part of your thyroid gland or muscles in your neck. 

Your Fred Hutch team will talk with you in detail about the surgery they recommend for you, why and what to expect. We’re here to help you through the entire process — before, during and after your surgery — including preventing and dealing with any possible side effects.

Learn More About Surgery

Radiation Therapy

People with parathyroid cancer sometimes have external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT): 

  • After surgery to decrease the chance that the cancer will return
  • As a main treatment if surgery isn’t possible

If your cancer has spread to other parts of your body, radiation therapy may also be helpful for treating those specific spots.

EBRT aims high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation at your body to kill cancer cells. 

Learn More About Radiation Therapy

Meet the Parathyroid Cancer Care Team