Staging is the process of finding out if and how far a cancer has spread. The stage of a cancer is one of the most important factors in choosing treatment options and predicting your chance for cure and long-term survival.
Staging is based on the results of the physical exam, the physician’s impression during or after surgery to remove the tumor (presence or absence of the tumor to the thyroid and other organs) and imaging tests (ultrasound, computed tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging, chest X-ray and/or radioisotope scans).
There is no standard staging process for parathyroid cancer. Parathyroid cancer is described as either localized or metastatic:
- Localized parathyroid cancer is found in a parathyroid gland and may have spread to nearby tissues.
- Metastatic parathyroid cancer has spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs, liver, bone, pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart), pancreas or lymph nodes.