Radioactive Iodine Treatment (RAI) is usually recommended for patients who have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and have recently had a total thyroidectomy to remove the cancer. This RAI Treatment is called thyroid ablation. The patient will be admitted to a RAI Treatment Room in hospital to undergo this treatment. The patient will be given a RAI tablet to swallow. The tablet is used to kill off any remaining cancerous cells in the body.
The patient may also be given a man-made recombinant human thyroid-stimulating hormone (rhTSH). This hormone helps cells take up the radioactive iodine substance. The radio-active substance absorbs and then targets thyroid cancer cells. Thyroid cells absorb iodine and the radiation destroys any remaining cells.
The patient will remain in hospital for at least 3 days during treatment.
This treatment is given to patients who still have thyroid cancer cells remaining in their body. The specialist doctor will determine when the patient should undergo the treatment.
Man-made recombinant human thyroid stimulating hormone (rhTSH) can also be given before this treatment.
Things to Know:
Your treating doctor will advise how long you must adhere to these conditions.
Take some boiled lollies with you to hospital. Sucking boiled lollies help the salivary glands during treatment. Contact the Ward Nurse Unit Manager before you are admitted to ask what you are able to take with you into the room, including food, reading material, laptop, mobile phone and other personal items. A boomerang shaped pillow can aid your comfort and support, rather than using hospital pillows. Preparing for your stay can make a huge difference to your wellbeing whilst undergoing treatment.
Two injections of Thyrogen are given a day apart, on the third day they receive a small dose of radioiodine. Two days later they have the Whole Body Scan (WBS) and pathology Tg Test. The tests following Thyrogen are comparable to those performed after stopping Levothyroxine. The patient does not become hypothyroid, however some patients might experience some short-lived headaches and nausea following the Thyrogen injections.
To find out whether Thyrogen is suitable for you, please talk to your treating specialist.