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radioactive iodine treatment or not.

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Hi there!

I am 40 years old, male and married. I've been diagnosed to have a papillary thyroid cancer stage 1 (T1N0M0).I have undergone near total thyroidectomy ( a portion of the left lobe was left) a month ago. My endo prescribed levothyroxin for me to take for two to three months.

I approached another endo and he has a slightly different view on treatment after surgery. I am weighing my options whether to go on with radioactive iodine treatment or not.

Suppose I will not undergo RAI treatment , what other possible options do I have? what are the risks? And if I go for RAI, what are the possible health risks? Will it affect memory,other organs like kidney, sexual desire,etc.?

The surgery did not include removal of any lymph node.This is the biopsy:Right Thyroid Lobe and Isthmus: Nodular Papillary Adenocarcinoma of low grade malignant potential. Left Thyroid Lobe: Colloid goiter solitary parathyroid gland with no significant histopathology demonstated.

Thanks for the answers


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replied December 24th, 2011
Thyroid Cancer Answer A29707
Hello and welcome to e health forum.

Radioactive iodine (RAI) is often chosen for treatment of conditions associated with overactive thyroid including hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancers.

RAI treatment is based on the fact that the thyroid actively accumulates iodine, which it uses to produce thyroid hormones required for normal body function.

The therapeutic action of RAI is via disruption of the function of the thyroid cells - the more radioactive iodine given, the more cells cease to function. As the cells stop functioning, excessive amounts of thyroid hormones are no longer produced, and symptoms of hyperthyroidism begin to disappear.

In your case the side effects of such therapy will be limited to short term effects like sore throat, nausea, fatigue, etc.

There will be no effect on other organs like kidneys, nor any effect on the sexual desire and sexual function.

But once the treatment is completed, you will need lifelong therapy with thyroxine supplements, to prevent hypothyroidism related symptoms.


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