Certain types of cancer and types of treatment may cause symptoms of hypercalcemia.
Some cancer cells cause the kidneys to return calcium to the blood after filtering it, instead of passing the extra calcium out of the body in urine. The kidneys keep making urine as they try to get rid of the extra calcium, and this causes the body to be dehydrated (not enough fluid). Dehydration can lead to the following:
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Cancer patients are often too tired and weak to be as active as usual. Being inactive can increase calcium in the blood because bones release calcium when they are not being used. Also, some blood cancers make substances that cause bone to break down and release calcium into the blood.
Certain types of biologic therapy used for cancer treatment can also cause hypercalcemia. These therapies include the following:
Tumor necrosis factors.
Hormone therapy can also increase the amount of calcium in the blood.
Different patients may have different symptoms.
Hypercalcemia symptoms may differ between patients. They can appear slowly over time and may look like symptoms of cancer and other diseases. The most common symptoms of hypercalcemia include the following:
Hypercalcemia affects normal heart rhythms. It can also make the heart more sensitive to certain heart medicines (such as digoxin). Calcium levels that are higher than normal can cause irregular heartbeats or a heart attack.