Stages of parathyroid cancer

Staging describes or classifies a cancer based on how much cancer there is in the body and where it is when first diagnosed. This is often called the extent of cancer. Information from tests and surgery is used to find out the size of the tumour, which parathyroid glands have cancer, whether the cancer has spread from where it first started and where the cancer has spread. Your healthcare team uses the stage to plan treatment and estimate the outcome (your prognosis).

There is no standard staging system for parathyroid cancer because it is very rare. When describing parathyroid cancer, doctors often use the terms localized, metastatic or recurrent.

Localized parathyroid cancer means the cancer is in a parathyroid gland. It may have spread to nearby tissues, such as the muscle or the thyroid.

Metastatic parathyroid cancer means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body farther from the parathyroid glands and nearby tissues, such as to lymph nodes, the lungs or bone.

Recurrent parathyroid cancer means the cancer has come back after it has been treated. If it comes back, it is most often in the tissues or lymph nodes in the neck. It can also come back in another part of the body.

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