Thyroid Cancer Treatment and Radioactive Iodine Therapy Treatment

Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses thyroid cancer treatment including radioactive iodine therapy treatment.

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Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses thyroid cancer treatment including radioactive iodine therapy treatment.
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Featuring Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist

Duration: 2 minutes, 18 seconds

So once your surgery is over, we may recommend a radioactive iodine therapy.

And there’s two ways that can be given. The old-fashioned way, if you will, is just not taking a thyroid hormone for perhaps four to six weeks, and having a dose of reactive iodine.

In recent years, we’ve had a product that can stimulate your thyroid or any residual thyroid tissue to take up radioactive iodine, which is much more kind and gentle in terms of impact on how you feel.

Because very quickly, you will feel back to normal. You should feel back to normal on an appropriate dose of thyroid replacement, and the radioactive iodine itself very rarely has side effects like nausea or discomfort.

It’s not like conventional external radiation for other cancers. It’s actually quite unique, radioactive iodine.

The only organ in the body that takes up iodine and hangs on to it is in fact the thyroid. The kidney takes it up and excretes it out of the body, and it has a transient passage through salivary glands and a few other tissues. But to hang on to it when it’s ingested, it’s the thyroid. So it’s a very unique, effective therapy.

The treatment for radioactive iodine therapy occurs in nuclear medicine departments in hospitals, and you would come in. You’d have a previously decided upon dose, either taken in pill or liquid format, and you leave, depending on the actual dose.

In high dose therapy, we sometimes require patients to be admitted to hospital for a very short period of time. And that’s basically to limit the potential exposure of radiation to others.

If you have further questions about the diagnosis or treatment or long-term follow-up of thyroid cancer, discuss it with your family doctor, or your family doctor may refer you to a physician experienced with this particular type of cancer.

Presenter: Dr. Richard Bebb, Endocrinologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Endocrinologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.