Radioactive iodine is a type of therapy used for thyroid cancer treatment. The thyroid gland absorbs nearly all of the iodine in your body. Iodine is essential for proper function of the thyroid gland, which uses it to make the thyroid hormones that circulate in our bodies. Iodine, in the form of iodide, can be made into a radioactive isotope, Iodine I-131.
When radioactive iodine (RAI), also known as I-131, is injested into the body in liquid or capsule form it is concentrated in thyroid cells. The radiation can destroy the thyroid gland and any other thyroid cells, including cancer cells, that are exposed to the iodine, causing little effect on the rest of the body.
In the case of an overactive thyroid, this treatment can safely eradicate some of the thyroid tissue so that the thyroid function can return to normal. With thyroid cancer, therapy with Iodine I-131 will remove any remaining thyroid tissue that is left after surgery. Within days, the radioactive iodine passes through and out of the body in your urine and saliva. How long this takes will depend on the dose received and your age. Young people will get rid of radioactive iodine faster than older adults.
Radioactive iodine therapy improves the survival rate of patients with papillary or follicular thyroid cancer that has spread to the neck or other body parts. Your doctor will provide written instructions to avoid exposing other people to radioactivity.
At Palm Beach Diabetes and Endocrine Specialists, PA. we have a Radioactive Iodine Laboratory located in our West Palm Beach office. The laboratory will help to integrate thyroid care throughout our offices in Jupiter thyroid center, Boynton Beach thyroid center, Wellington center, and West Palm Beach thyroid treatment center. If you would like to learn more about thyroid treatment or radioactive iodine therapy at Palm Beach Diabetes and Endocrine Specialists, PA., please contact us today.