People suffering from thyroid cancer receive radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment to destroy their thyroid tissue. Following therapy, they must take measures to limit radiation exposure to others by remaining at least 6 feet away from family members and public places, and not sharing utensils, bedding towels and clothes among family members.
Table of Contents
Cell phone radiation does not directly cause cancer, but can pose health risks to those with implanted medical devices like pacemakers. The FDA advises keeping all wireless devices – such as tablets, computers, televisions and cell phones – at least six inches from these medical devices, such as pacemakers. This recommendation especially applies if pregnant or breastfeeding.
After receiving radioactive iodine treatment, most of your radioactivity will leave your body via urine and saliva over several days. To expedite this process, it is advised to drink plenty of fluids during this time – this will aid the process and also decrease absorption rates for radioiodine. You should avoid dairy products which may block absorption.
After treatment, for the first few hours it will be important to stay in your room or a private space away from other people, as you will be monitored by a radiation safety physicist who will use hand-held radiation detection devices to measure radiation levels in your system and advise when it is safe for you to return to work and how far away from other people you should stay – generally, keeping at arm’s length from all people for several weeks is recommended as is not sharing beds or bathrooms with anyone.
Women should use birth control for at least six months post treatment to prevent pregnancy, while breastfeeding or pumping breast milk at least six to twelve weeks before starting radioactive iodine treatment due to its potential accumulation in breast tissue containing milk.
Urine is the primary means for radioactive iodine to leave the body quickly following treatment; small amounts also exit through sweat, tears, saliva and feces. Most patients will be able to remain at home during this period; those requiring hospitalization will typically receive lower doses and be provided a private room and bathroom.
At this stage of gestation and breastfeeding, it is strongly advised that pregnant women and children avoid close physical contact, sleep in separate bedrooms and follow specific guidelines provided by healthcare providers regarding how long a person should remain apart from others – including public transportation, hotels, carpools and certain work environments; additionally it may also be wise to limit close interactions with family pets during this period.
At home, people should wash their clothing and bedding separately from that of others in the household, use separate dishes and utensils and rinse their hands frequently after using the toilet or eating (especially after making food for others or children), rinse their clothing after preparing food ( to reduce radioactive iodine contamination on clothing worn after preparation) as well as take showers daily to minimize skin contamination.
After treatment with radioactive iodine, it is vitally important to drink plenty of liquids in order to flush it from your system through urine. Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy may help relieve dry mouth symptoms; chewing gum or sucking on hard candy may also provide relief from dry mouth symptoms. It may also change taste sensations so food might taste saltier or metallic.
Most radioactive iodine will be expelled through urine and feces, so it is advised that people go to the bathroom as frequently as possible. Urinate immediately upon sensing an urge and flush several times afterwards to ensure all iodine has left your system.
Iodine-131 radioisotope used for thyroid treatment does not cause permanent physical harm to your body, but does carry with it a small risk of cancer which can be reduced significantly by following some simple instructions after your treatment. Your clinical team should provide guidance specific to your case; for example washing personal clothing separately for up to four months post treatment using an extra rinse cycle before disposing of them through the sanitary sewage system instead of solid waste systems is intended to keep exposure levels comparable with background levels we all encounter daily.
Radium taken up by your thyroid will eventually be excreted through urine, saliva, and bowel movements; if there are large quantities left over however, extra precautions need to be taken in order to safeguard other people and animals from exposure. These will depend on the size and type of dose prescribed and treated area. For instance, it could require staying six feet away from other people (including children and family pets) for up to 21 days while using medications prescribed by your provider. Avoiding conflict in public settings means remaining apart, not going out together and sleeping in separate beds (a separate room may be preferable). Furthermore, try not to use soaps or clothes used by other people. At this time, it is also recommended that you keep separate towels and washcloths solely for yourself to use during this period. In addition, keep separate cups, plates, and utensils from those you share with others to be washed after every use rather than sharing. In order to best manage waste from contamination you should dispose of it via the sanitary sewer system rather than regular solid waste streams.
Your dose will usually come as a liquid dose that looks and tastes similar to water; some individuals report tasting stale or musty notes from it. After treatment, the radiation levels should subside over two hours; during this timeframe public transportation such as buses, subways, trains or planes cannot transport you home; it is therefore wise to plan ahead by either driving yourself home yourself, having someone pick you up or hiring a taxi or private car service for transportation home.
Once your treatment has completed, you may experience mild nausea; your doctor can provide anti-nausea medicine to combat this side effect. Some individuals also report diarrhea after this therapy session – make sure you drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated! After waiting for radiation levels to decrease, a health physicist will monitor them with a hand-held detector at various times throughout the day before you can shower, dress and prepare to meet a specialist.