Surgery and radiation therapy are often used to treat parathyroid disease, according to the MD Anderson Cancer Center. The best treatment approach depends on whether the patient has parathyroid cancer, hyperparathyroidism or hypoparathyroidism.
The parathyroid glands are located near the thyroid gland in the neck, explains the National Cancer Institute. A person with parathyroid cancer has malignant cells growing in these glands. Doctors use chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery to destroy the cancerous cells. Medications and intravenous fluids are also used to ease the symptoms of parathyroid cancer.
Hyperparathyroidism causes the parathyroid glands to produce too much PTH, a hormone that regulates the amount of calcium in the bloodstream, states Mayo Clinic. Doctors often use surgery to remove the overactive parathyroid glands. Hormone replacement therapy, calcimimetics and bisphosphonates are used to treat hyperparathyroidism in some patients. Hormone replacement therapy and bisphosphonates prevent the bones from losing calcium. Calcimimetics prevent the parathyroid glands from producing too much PTH by mimicking the effects of calcium in the bloodstream.
In people with hypoparathyroidism, the parathyroid glands do not produce enough PTH, notes MedlinePlus. This causes the amount of phosphorus in the blood to increase and the amount of calcium in the blood to decrease. Doctors use vitamin D supplements and calcium carbonate to treat hypoparathyroidism.