If you or those around you have thyroid cancer, you should know that after thyroid surgery with cancer and thyroid removal, radioactive iodine is used to remove the remnants of thyroid.
Read more about Thyroid cancer treatment radioactive iodine in the following.
Why is radioactive iodine used to treat thyroid cancer?
It can be said that the thyroid gland absorbs almost all the iodine in the body.
Therefore, radioactive iodine, which doctors refer to as RAI-I131, can be used to treat thyroid cancers. RAI mainly accumulates in thyroid cells, and radiation emitted by radiation therapy can kill and destroy all the cells in which RAI has accumulated. The radiation dose is much stronger than the amount used in radioactive scans.
The benefit of this method is that it can be used to destroy any thyroid tissue that has not been surgically removed from the body. Also, radioactive iodine can be used to eliminate lymph nodes involved with thyroid cancer cells in the neck and other areas of the body. (Because there will be accumulation of radioactive iodine in these cells)
Which thyroid cancers are treated with RAI?
This method is used in the treatment of cases with:
Papillary thyroid cancer or PTC
Follicular thyroid cancer or FTC
Disseminated types of the above cancers to the head and neck and throughout the body, and it allows these people to live longer with full treatment.
The success rate of treatment in the above thyroid cancers is higher than all types of malignant human tumors.
But can RAI also be used in small and limited thyroid cancers?
There is still little consensus among physicians about the benefits of using this method in thyroid-restricted cancers that have not even spread to surrounding tissues, blood vessels, and lymph nodes, and its specific benefits have not been determined.
Therefore, each person should be examined by his doctor in accordance with all his conditions and appropriate treatment should be prescribed.
Usually, all small, limited thyroid tumors are surgically removed.
It is important to note that RAI cannot be used to treat the following cancers because these tumors cannot absorb iodine:
Thyroid Medullary cancer or TMC
Undifferentiated thyroid cancer
Complications and risks of using RAI in the treatment of thyroid cancer
- Because your body emits radioactive radiation for a while, depending on the dose of radioactive iodine, you should stay in the hospital quarantine for a while.
- When discharging from a hospital or medical center, people will receive special instructions to avoid harming others.
- Swelling of the neck
- Sensitivity of the neck
- Vomiting of the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes (if you have contact lenses, be sure to tell your doctor)
- Changing the perception of tastes
It is recommended that these people chew gum with a sweet taste.
Men may experience a decrease in sperm count with some treatments with radioactive iodine, and male infertility is rare.
Women may have irregular periods for up to a year after all treatment.
It is recommended not to get pregnant for six to twelve months after the end of treatment with radioactive iodine.
After this period, it has not harmed the fetus or baby so far.
How to prepare for treatment with radioactive iodine?
The first step is to raise a hormone in the body that is required to absorb iodine, called TSH, Most people have lost their thyroid to surgery and are taking levothyroxine, or thyroid hormone, and their TSH levels are low.
One way is for doctors to discontinue their pills for a few weeks.
Discontinuation of the pill is associated with fatigue, constipation, muscle aches, and decreased mood.
Receiving thyrotropin or Thyrogen.
This medicine prevents the inhibition of thyroid hormone for a while.
Consumption of this drug is started two days before the start of RAI treatment and continues for three days after it is finished.
Doctors recommend eating foods low in iodine one to two weeks before starting treatment with radioactive iodine. These ingredients are:
- Iodized salts
- Iodine breads