RAI Part 1
This is only used for Papillary and Follicular thyroid cancers.
Like ordinary iodine in the diet, radioactive iodine is taken up by any remaining normal thyroid cells and potentially by thyroid cancer cells as well. The radioactive form of iodine is used to destroy any remaining thyroid cells.
Before this treatment can be given, the patient needs to be prepared so that the treatment stands the best chance of working
Preparing for RAI
Step 1 - Low Iodine Diet
This is recommended in order to get as much of the radioactive iodine to the treatment areas of the body and to stop iodine in the diet from interfering with the treatment.
There is quite a variation in the amount of time that different hospitals and doctors suggest for the low iodine diet.
You are likely to be asked to cut down the amount of iodine in your diet for between 1 and 2 weeks before your treatment. You will be able to eat normally again once the treatment has been finished.
The details of the diet will be given by your own hospital team but the main things that contain iodine that you will need to cut down or avoid are fish and dairy produce. You may find examples of low iodine diets in booklets and on internet sites that are not designed for the UK population's diet so it is best to avoid these as they are unlikely to be suitable.
Step 2 - Producing A High Level of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
There are 2 ways of getting this hormone level high enough in the blood to allow the radioactive iodine to do what it needs to do.
Side effects from rhTSH are uncommon and generally mild. Some people feel sick, have a headache or feel weak with aching muscles ( like having flu) after their injections. This is best managed with rest, plenty of fluids and paracetamol. A few people have experienced a rash.
rhTSH may not be available everywhere and it isn't suitable for all patients.
We are the only registered charity in Wales supporting this rare form of cancer l Tel: 0845 009 2737 l Registered Charity No 1113774