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EndocrineWeb Community Advice
Posted in: Thyroid Cancer.

radioactive iodine

From: hazzzz - 12 years 18 weeks ago

i have a thyroid cancer and had my thyriod removed. the doctor told me to undergo a radioactive iodine after the surgery. i am too scared to undergo this treatment and to spend a week, alone in a hospital room. i am still worried that the cancer might come back. can somebody share to me your experiences with radioactive iodine if you have done it.

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7 Responses

Is this good advice?

Your doctor is recommending Radioactive Iodine (RAI) ablation because it can sometime be difficult to remove all the tissue possibly leaving cancerous tissue in your neck. Since thyroid tissue is the only tissue that will take up Iodine, it is an effective method for making sure all of the thyroid tissue in your body is killed.

Radioactive iodine treatment has few side effects, and these occur infrequently.

* A sore throat may occur a few days after the treatment, which can be treated with acetaminophen.
* Rarely, the salivary glands may swell, which is caused by the iodine and not the radioactivity. Some physicians believe that sucking hard candies for a few days can prevent this.
* Mild nausea may develop for a few hours after the iodine is taken, so it is best not to eat two hours before and two hours after.

While we certainly recommend finding a treatment plan that works for you in consultation with a qualified doctor, without seeing specifics, what your doctor recommends sounds like it conforms with recommended guidelines for the treatment of papillary or follicular thyroid cancer.

Besides our info on thyroid cancer - I suggest the following resource:

Good luck and please let the community know what you decide to do

Is this good advice?

I completely know what your going through, I had my thyroid removed and then 6 months later went through the radioactive idodine treatment. I was freaked out as well. You will sleep a lot, so the isolation isn't so bad.

As for the treatment, you simply take a pill with a radioactive dose in it. I had some jaw tightening and pain. As well you can experience some nausea. My best advice, bring lots of things to do, brings comfty pillows, and drink excessive amounts of fluids. The jaw can tighten, almost hurt, chew gum and suck on lolipops/candies to help with this.

The idea is that the radioactive iodine will attract to any tissue left, thus showing up on the body scan you will have later. Even if something shows up on the scan, it is expected/hoped that the radioactivity remaining in you will kill it.

Unfortunately, the worst part is waiting for scans, results etc. You will need an ultrasound later to confirm that the treatment worked. In my case, I'm about to do the radioactive iodine treatment for the second time. My hospital did allow me to complete the isolated phase at home. They only allow this sometimes, and if you have your own bathroom and bedroom that can be strictly yours. This was an option I found difficult finding, but was definately worth it - much more comfortable.

Hope this helps.

Is this good advice?

Thank you for the info. It gives me hope talking to somebody who went through the radioactive iodine treatment. I have been skipping my check-ups with the doctor. Think I'm avoiding those agonizing moments waiting for the results. But I'm probably going to the doctor this weekend, it really bothers me everyday thinking that something might grow back.
When will you have your second treatment?

Is this good advice?

hi im also about to undergo RAI after thyroid being removed the suggested to have it.. but i escape for almost 7 months but now i wanted to comply it.. also i have to know about the things i do before the treatment.. please update me..

Is this good advice?

will you please update me about RAI.. its somewhat i diagnosed Papillary thyroid Cancer..what should i take precationsssssssssssss?

Is this good advice?

hi i have papillary cancer (thyroid cancer) had throid 2 large timors and 10 lymph nobes removed had 150 idoine radioacitve pill and thank God i have nothing left in my body that is cancer. It was easy to go do. but did not like the diet that you have to go on for the pill to do a good job. for a week i remember eatting oranges and bananas and very little meat. this happen right after christmas this year. go and get started it does not hurt i had no side effects, no jaw soreness like other people have been talking about. I just went home after taking the pill and had to be alone .for aleast 4 days. That is what hurts the most not being around friends and family


Is this good advice?

I am about to start the no iodine diet for two weeks and then do the radiation therapy. I am more uncomfortable about the diet than the treatment! Being lacto vegetarian for over 30 years, I am looking at eating plain rice and steamed veggies and/or fruit for two weeks. no commercial baked goods! ugh!

however, I look at taking the treatment this way - it has a VERY high rate of success and if it saves me from having to undergo another surgery and have the feeling I killed all the cancer cells, I am going for it! I would rather kill the demon I know is there and believe none will come back. AND not have to be cut up again!

(had whole thyroid and 8 lymph nodes removed 6 weeks ago - had a nodule for 10 years before that)