Is High Calcium a Sign of Cancer?

Is High Calcium a Sign of Cancer?

Introduction of Relationship of High Calcium and Cancer

Is a high calcium level, sign of cancer? Calcium, an essential mineral for strong bones and overall health, plays a vital role in various physiological processes within the body. However, abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood, known as hypercalcemia, can raise concerns about potential issues, including cancer. In this article, we will explore whether high calcium a sign of cancer. We will also delve into the causes of hypercalcemia, discuss the importance of nutrition, whole foods, and proper hydration in maintaining a healthy calcium balanc.  Finally, we will highlight the significance of seeking proper medical evaluation for any unusual symptoms or concerns.

Is High Calcium a Sign of Cancer?

While hypercalcemia can be associated with certain types of cancer, it is essential to understand that elevated calcium levels are not always indicative of malignancy. Hypercalcemia can occur due to various factors unrelated to cancer, such as excessive calcium supplementation, certain medications, or underlying medical conditions. Nevertheless, persistent hypercalcemia or unusually high calcium levels warrant investigation and should not be ignored.

Hypercalcemia and Its Potential Causes

Hypercalcemia occurs when the level of calcium in the blood exceeds the normal range, typically measured at 8.5 to 10.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 2.12 to 2.55 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Potential causes of hypercalcemia include:

  • Primary Hyperparathyroidism: This condition involves overactivity of the parathyroid glands, leading to excess production of parathyroid hormone (PTH), which regulates calcium levels in the blood.
  • Cancer-Associated Hypercalcemia: Certain cancers, particularly those that spread to the bones, can release calcium into the bloodstream, causing hypercalcemia.
  • Medications: Some medications, such as thiazide diuretics and lithium, can disrupt calcium balance and lead to elevated calcium levels.
  • Kidney Disease: Impaired kidney function can interfere with calcium excretion, resulting in hypercalcemia.
  • Excessive Vitamin D: Taking high doses of vitamin D supplements or excessive sun exposure, leading to increased vitamin D production, can raise calcium levels in the blood.
  • Immobilization: Prolonged immobility, such as bed rest, can contribute to calcium leaching from the bones and into the bloodstream.

Let us next explore if high calcium has any links to cancer.

Hypercalcemia and Its Association with Cancer

Hypercalcemia can be a warning sign of some types of cancer, especially those that have metastasized to the bones. Cancers commonly associated with hypercalcemia include:

  • Breast Cancer: Advanced breast cancer that has spread to the bones can lead to elevated calcium levels.
  • Lung Cancer: Certain types of lung cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma, can produce a hormone-like substance that elevates calcium in the blood.
  • Multiple Myeloma: This cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow can result in increased calcium levels due to bone destruction.
  • Kidney Cancer: In rare cases, renal cell carcinoma can cause hypercalcemia.


Maintaining an optimal calcium balance is essential for overall health and well-being. Proper nutrition, whole foods, and proper hydration play significant roles in achieving this balance and supporting bone health.

  • Calcium-Rich Foods: Incorporating calcium-rich foods into your diet is crucial for bone health and maintaining proper calcium levels. Good sources of calcium include dairy products (milk, yogurt, and cheese), leafy greens (kale, broccoli, and bok choy), fortified plant-based milks, and sardines.
  • Vitamin D: Adequate levels of vitamin D are essential for calcium absorption. Spending time outdoors in the sunlight and consuming foods fortified with vitamin D can help meet your body's requirements.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is necessary for proper calcium metabolism and utilization. Consuming magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy greens can support calcium absorption.
  • Phosphorus: Maintaining a balanced intake of phosphorus, found in foods like meat, dairy, and legumes, is vital for calcium balance.
  • Hydration: Staying well-hydrated supports kidney function and aids in calcium excretion, helping prevent hypercalcemia, which results in high levels of calcium being detected, leading to the suspicion of possible cancers.

The Significance of Seeking Medical Evaluation

If you experience symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, frequent urination, constipation, or bone pain, and suspect hypercalcemia or any underlying health issues, seeking medical evaluation is crucial. A healthcare professional can conduct appropriate tests, diagnose the cause of hypercalcemia, and develop a tailored treatment plan if necessary.

Conclusion on Whether High Calcium a Sign of Cancer

While high calcium levels in the blood, or hypercalcemia, can be associated with cancer, it is not a definitive sign of malignancy. Elevated calcium levels can result from various factors, including primary hyperparathyroidism, certain medications, kidney disease, or excessive vitamin D intake. Nevertheless, persistent or unexplained hypercalcemia should prompt further investigation to rule out any underlying health issues, including cancer.

Maintaining a balanced diet, rich in calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus, is essential for supporting bone health and proper calcium metabolism. Incorporating nutrition, whole foods, and proper hydration into your daily routine can help maintain a healthy calcium balance.

Remember, proper medical evaluation and a proactive approach to your health are essential in promoting overall well-being and early detection of potential health concerns.

In conclusion, high levels of calcium can be suspicious and worth to be checked if they are signs of cancer. 


  • American Cancer Society. (2021). Hypercalcemia. []
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