Thyroid guard?

Just curious........has anyone ever been offered or requested a thyroid guard? I'm thinking particularly when having radiotherapy for beast cancer; a mammogram or dental x-rays. A friend of mine recently told me that now there seems to be all sorts of protective clothing worn when having radiotherapy which wasn't offered to me some 6 years ago. Is this only in London maybe? it possible that my problem resulted from stray radiation?

21 Replies

  • Never been offered it - I think it might be more important to protect the thymus - but I now refuse all the radiation. Of course, I might break something and have to have an X-ray, in which case I'll take a lot of potassium iodide (or whatever it is) - not autoimmune.

  • Potassium Iodide won't protect against x-rays, it's only useful to protect your thyroid against radioactive iodine. The large dose of potassium iodide saturates the thyroid gland so that there is no remaining capacity to absorb the radioactive iodine.

    A one-off x-ray is pretty low risk though, if you do need one. A chest x-ray only exposes you to the equivalent of a few days worth of background radiation, an x-ray of an arm or leg even less.

  • Nuclear industry seems to reckon it will protect you against radiation - that's what we get given at the power station in the event of an "incident". Of course, you just get tic-tacs during practices ... not the real thing.

  • That's because radioactive iodine is typically one of the more dangerous things likely to be emitted from a nuclear power station in event of a disaster, and by taking a massive dose of potassium iodide you can prevent the radioactive form being taken up by the thyroid.

    It does nothing against other forms of radiation, and does come with some side effects in high doses, so it's best not to use it unnecessarily.

  • Surprisingly (at least to me), it appears that cimetidine (a histamine H2-receptor antagonist) might protect against external radiation. In mice...

  • Thx acc1 - good to know

  • Thx Angel. Guess I'll stay away as much as possible from radiation.

  • I always insist on one. Hospitals usually have one but wont offer unless you ask. Attitudes vary from helpful to pig ignorant

  • Mmmm, interesting that they are out there........thx

  • Asked my Dentist for one and they were amazed, they did have one but it was buried in a cupboard as they never normally use, the ignorance is appalling. I also asked at Guys Hospital when I had an xray for a tooth extraction but they insisted it wasn't necessary!

  • Thx Joyia......... looks like it's very much hit or miss.

  • I now ask for one at the dentist. First time I asked I could see by his expression that they weren't asked often or ever, or that he had forgotten I had Graves. But he is very professional so recovered quickly and went and got one, without comment.

    When I went to the hospital for an extraction, I asked for one before xrays. I was given one but when the xray was done in the new fangled way, the sheild had cast a shadow, so had to have it done again.

    Ask and ignore any negative comments!

  • Thx, think we still need to ask the you did. x

  • Oh and I live in Somerset, so I dont think it's even down to where you live.

  • Since my thyroid went doolaly and I heard one could do so, I have asked for a thyroid guard for X-rays and been laughed at 'you don't need it' I've told, by the dentist and the mammogrammer (?!). I, too, wonder if x-rays over many years is what first threw my thyroid out of whack. Not that I've even had that many, but they do add up. I can't remember protective clothing of any kind ever being offered. I don't live in London.

  • If we don't ask .......we don't learn do we? Thx humhrey

  • When I had my last check up at the dentist and needed an X-ray because I was having a problem with a back tooth, I mentioned screening my thyroid to him after reading about it on this site previously. He told me that although dentists used to screen for safety, they no longer do because research had shown that the amount of radiation given was so low that it presents no problem. He told me that you can be in contact with more radiation by simply shopping in a supermarket.

  • PS: he was the best dentist I have ever seen in my life, certainly knew what he was talking about and found things that other dentists had missed. My teeth are sound once more and I shall miss him greatly because he was recently head-hunted and now works in London. :(

  • Hi E-L. Good to know your experience......always a learning curve. x

  • Whilst we can strongly disagree with the major thyroid organisations such as the American Thyroid Association, at times they do identify issues that we are likely to agree with. This is one such case:

    Thyroid-protective collars should be used for all dental x-rays when they do not interfere with the examination. Thyroid-protective collars are not needed for screening mammograms.

    There seems to be a strong tendency to look only at the increased risks of thyroid cancers - not whether x-rays can cause more general damage which does not end up, at least in the short and middle terms, cancerous.


  • ever......I appreciate your 'sage' advice. Will follow your leads......... thx. k x

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