Hypercalcemia of Malignancy

What is Hypercalcemia of Malignancy?

Hypercalcemia of malignancy is a metabolic disorder that occurs when too much calcium is present in the serum or extracellular-fluid component of the bloodstream. It is caused by an increased rate of bone destruction and bone resorption, leading to an excess of calcium in the bloodstream. The most common type of malignancy that can lead to hypercalcemia is cancer, although some other causes of malignancy-linked hypercalcemia exist.

Symptoms of Hypercalcemia of Malignancy

Early symptoms of hypercalcemia of malignancy can include fatigue and loss of appetite, along with nausea, vomiting, constipation, and confusion. Neurological symptoms such as headaches, muscle weakness, and twitching are also associated with this condition. More concerning symptoms include a rapid but weak heart rate, excessive urination, trouble breathing, and an abdominal mass. The latter is typically felt in the upper left corner of the abdomen.

Diagnosis of Hypercalcemia of Malignancy

Hypercalcemia of malignancy is typically diagnosed through a combination of blood tests and imaging studies such as X-rays and CT scans, as well as biopsies of any suspicious masses. Your doctor may also order additional tests such as PET scans and bone scans to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of Hypercalcemia of Malignancy

The primary goal of treating hypercalcemia of malignancy is to control the underlying malignancy. Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, surgery, and/or immunotherapy. Other treatments for hypercalcemia of malignancy involve the use of hydration, bisphosphonates (to stop bone breakdown), corticosteroids, calcitonin, and IV sodium phosphates.

Complications of Hypercalcemia of Malignancy

Hypercalcemia of malignancy can have serious complications, such as damage to the heart, kidneys, or other organs as a result of too much circulating calcium. If left untreated, hypercalcemia of malignancy can lead to coma and death. Therefore, it is important to seek medical care and treat this condition as soon as possible.

Prevention of Hypercalcemia of Malignancy

The best way to prevent hypercalcemia of malignancy is to detect and treat the underlying malignancy. Early detection and effective treatment of your malignancy can reduce the risk of developing this serious condition.

  • Seek medical care if you experience any of the symptoms associated with hypercalcemia of malignancy.
  • Follow your treatment plan for the underlying malignancy.
  • Maintain a balanced diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D.
  • Strictly follow doctor's instructions regarding the use of calcium-containing medications.