Thyroid UK
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RAI pros and cons

Posted this last night but realised this morning I had wrongly titled my question............ So here it is again.

After TT in August I have an appointment at Christies next Monday to discuss RAI. I was wondering if some of you more knowledgeable people could give me an idea of the pros and cons so I can go forewarned. As a bit of background, I had a partial thyroidectomy in May, and a follicular carcinoma was found in the removed part. No further cancers were found after the TT. I've been on 60mcg T3 since, and been pretty well. Many thanks.

1 Reply

Monkey, I had high dose RAI 3,700 megaBecquerel (mBq) in 2012. I was quarantined in hospital until the scan dropped from 106 milliCuree (mCi) to 20 mCi which it did on the 3rd day and I was released after a whole body gamma scan which took about 30/40 minutes. I fell asleep.

Take sour boiled sweets to cope with temporary saliva dryness (may not happen) and drinks to dilute as you will be encouraged to drink copious amounts to flush the radioactive iodine from your system. You will be encouraged to shower frequently too which also helps flush the RAI. Hospital provided towels.

Take old pyjamas, underwear, slippers/flip flops, toothbrush and wash cloth as you'll need to ditch them or collect them in 6 months after they've been decontaminated.

I was allowed to use and take home mobile phone, tablet, books, magazines etc. Visitors may be allowed at the threshold but not in your room.

You'll be given clear instructions/restrictions for up to 3 weeks when you leave quarantine. Mainly avoid children and pregnant women, don't prepare food for others and use a seperate set of crockery and utensils for yourself, no pub, cinema, dentist, hairdresser. My vet wasn't concerned about my dogs sleeping on the bed but advised I should discourage them from licking me.

I didn't experience any side effects although dry mouth for a few days is common. I did have intermittent night time dry mouth a few months ago (2 years after RAI) but I previously had a saliva abcess and blockages so it may not be RAI related. It's eased by BioXtra mouth gel and I haven't had it recently.

I didn't research RAI prior to having it but there are people who are very averse to it and have refused it. I felt the increased risk of white cell damage (leukaemia) in the future was less dangerous than the risk of cancer recurrence sooner. There was some slight uptake of iodine indicating some thyroid cells somewhere so I had a low dose RAI whole body scan 5 months later which didn't involve quarantine although the same restrictions were placed. Thyroglobulin and thyroglobulin antibody tests subsequently show no thyroid activity.


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