Most tumors of the parathyroid are benign. These tumors may be difficult to find surgically and thus localizing studies are often done ahead of time to save time and effort during surgery. These may include ultrasound of the neck, CT of the neck and chest and sestamibi (parathyroid scan, nuclear medicine scan). These tumors secrete an excess parathyroid hormone which can result in osteoporosis, kidney stones, depression, muscle aches and pains and general feelings of being unwell. They are adequately treated by surgical excision of the offending gland (adenoma) or glands (hyperplasia).
Parathyroid cancers are rare. There are treated with surgery and often radiation therapy afterward.