Get your Health question answered in 3 easy steps
A Doctor will be with you shortly
Ask a Doctor Now
194 Doctors are Online

Blood work showed high calcium level. Worried about cancer cause of high calcium. Should I be concerned?

User rating for this question
Very Good
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 5602 Questions
Question
I am a 45 year old post menopausal female. I went to have a physical in May and the blood work showed a high calcium level of 10.5. I also had a calcium level of 10.3 in 2009. The PTH level was checked last month and was 21. The calcium and PTH were checked 2 weeks ago and are now 10.4 and the pth is 13.8. My endocrinologist wants me to come back in 6 months and have the calcium and pth checked again. I'm very concerned because all of the sites on the internet list cancer as a cause for high calcium. Should I be concerned and have more testing done instead of waiting 6 months?
Posted Sun, 28 Jul 2013 in General Health
 
 
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 2 hours later
Hi and thank you so much for this query. I am Dr. Ditah and feel honored having this opportunity to address your health worries. I am so sorry to hear about these high calcium levels and all the troubling thoughts that this has caused you. We are going to take a more personalised approach towards this to understand what could be the possible cause of this.


Your calcium level is borderline. This is the cut of of the upper normal limit. It is a reason to be concerned about as to why the value is rising and more so if your control over time has shown a steady increase. But looking at this value from 2009 through 2013, it seems relatively stable. The PTH is still in the normal range and making a quick call on this is going to be difficult.

There are several possible causes of hypercalcemia.The first thing to do is to look at
your diet and see whether you eat so much food stuffs that are XXXXXXX in calcium. If this is the case, then you may want to control it. Also, calciumm and vitD supplement.

High calcium is linked with cancer but it is often a late stage manifestation of cancer. Unless there are red flags to think you are at increased risk of having cancers now, i will not want to turn to this now. The way cancers increase blood cancer is by either destroying bones and releasing calcium or producing a substance called parathyroid hormone related peptide which increases blood calcium. If it were bone destruction, then you must have had bone pains and you are not reporting any at this time. Also, dosing the blood levels of this this related peptide may shed more light on this. However, the levels of high calcium in cancers re always very high and not just a mere borderline value like in your case.

Going in for aggressive testing now when these values are not too alarming to raise a high suspicion would most likely not be the best thing to do at this time. Waiting for another six months to get these values checked again or earlier if you develop some new concerning symptoms is a logical approach which should in no way compromise the quality of care. The most important thing was to recognise cancers as a possible cause of this and putting an eye to make sure we recognise early signs and symptoms that may warrant further testing.

For now, stay relax and be watchful. If any concerning signs or symptoms should aris, then we may want to be more aggressive towards this. otherwise, i feel comfortable suggesting that you stick with the plan outlined by your doctor.

I hope this addresses your query. if there are more questions, please ask the and i will gladly respond. remember the causes of high calcium are vast and you mustt have seen them almost on every other website. I have tried to put findingd together to see whether cancers should be considered now only. If you may want to know more, the address the questions and i will answer them.
I wish you good health.
Dr. Ditah.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Blood work showed high calcium level. Worried about cancer cause of high calcium. Should I be concerned? 12 minutes later
Thanks so much for the prompt answers to my worries. I failed to mention that I did have a complete blood workup and all my levels other than the calcium were normal. I guess my main worries from the internet sites was breast cancer and multiple myeloma. I had a good report from my mammogram in August of 2012 and am due next month to have another one. I haven't felt any lumps though during my monthly self exam. As far as the myeloma I hope that isn't a worry due to the normal blood work? I did see that on WWW.WWWW.WW that you can have a high calcium and normal pth and still have a tumor on the parathyroid gland? not sure if I should have more tests done to check for this? Thanks for your time.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 40 minutes later
Hi and thank you so much for this follow up information.

" I guess my main worries from the internet sites was breast cancer and multiple myeloma"
Please, your age makes multiple myeloma less likely. Also, absence of low back pain and no Bence XXXXXXX proteins in urine make this very unlikely. If your yearly mammograms and monthly breast exams are normal, then breast cancer should be less likely as well. I am happy to know you are due another mammogram next month that would further reassure you of the probable benign nature of this finding.

"I did see that on WWW.WWWW.WW that you can have a high calcium and normal pth and still have a tumor on the parathyroid gland? not sure if I should have more tests done to check for this? ".
Please, this is a rare association in medicine and not the rule. The rule is often that a high calcium level suppresses the levels of parathyroid hormones unless the cause is a high level of parathyroid hormones itself. In this case, having a normal PTH level is very very rare. It is very difficult to find this association in every day to day practice. Please don't continue to hurt yourself by thinking you shall go by the exceptions rather than the rules. My answer will be NO, for now. If we should have more evidence in future to pursue this course, then we are going to do that.

I hope I have addressed your questions fully. If there are still some more, feel free to ask me. I am ready and willing to address them. I wish you good health.
Wish you the best mammogram results.
Dr. Ditah, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Question is related to
Lab Tests

The user accepted the expert's answer

Ask a Doctor Now

© Ebix, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All the information, content and live chat provided on the site is intended to be for informational purposes only, and not a substitute for professional or medical advice. You should always speak with your doctor before you follow anything that you read on this website. Any health question asked on this site will be visible to the people who browse this site. Hence, the user assumes the responsibility not to divulge any personally identifiable information in the question. Use of this site is subject to our Terms & Conditions
Already Rated.
Your rating:

Ask a Doctor