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famnd 08-22-2008 09:32 PM

Radiation exposure
Was there any risk of radiation exposure for the family after having a thyroid scan with I-131 which I had in 77'?

I received 49 uci of I-131. I don't remember any precautions as far as staying away from family members. After taking the radiation, I had to go home & return 24 hrs later. I had young children at the time.

Fast foward to the present, my younger daughter now has a nodule as seen by ultrasound. My oldest daughter had a TT in Jan. for thyroid cancer (papillary with a follicular variant.) I have a goiter & nodules that are being followed by US.

When having a thyroid scan now, are there any precautions? Long terms risks?

Thank you. Fam

TC08 08-22-2008 11:57 PM

Re: Radiation exposure
Hi Fam - Just thought I'd share the little I know. I had RAI for thyroid cancer a little over 2 weeks ago. There were several precautions I was given for my dose of 152 millicuries. I'm not familiar with the measurement of "uci" that you mention? I'll let other more experienced folks respond, as I'm sure they will, but just thought I'd offer my 2 cents ;)

As for the scan, they gave me a tracer dose of 2 millicuries a few days prior to the large dose. There were no precautions for that dose. Sorry for your concerns. I look forward to other folks responding :)

Eagle 08-23-2008 05:21 AM

Re: Radiation exposure
Bump...Something many of us may need to know....

midwest1 08-23-2008 03:00 PM

Re: Radiation exposure
There would have been no risk to your family as long as the proper tracer dose was given. (Mistakes do happen, we all know.)

In the RAIU test, only small amounts of radioactive tracer are used. The tracer loses most of its radioactivity in hours or days and is quickly eliminated from the body through the urine. You should have been instructed to flush twice for a day or two, and to thoroughly wash your hands after toileting. They wouldn't allow people to leave the facility if they were strongly radioactive.

It would be my bet that your daughters have just inherited your bad thyroid genes, and that your uptake scan has nothing to do with their conditions.

Reece 08-23-2008 07:09 PM

Re: Radiation exposure
I agree with midwest, and I don't think it's at all from your scan.

The tracer dose is pretty small----the only precautions I got were to flush twice and wash my hands, and from what I learned from my treatment dose for thyroid cancer, it correlated.

When I had 175millicuries for my treatment dose, I met with a nuclear safety officer, and got several sheets of paper worth of instructions. Even then they explained that most of it would come out in urine.

My mother didn't have any RAIU scan ever, I was not exposed to any radiation, and I don't have a family history of thyroid problems----I think it's just twist and turns of my genetic makeup that gave me crappy luck and thyroid cancer.

Eagle 08-23-2008 07:16 PM

Re: Radiation exposure
Flush twice when you use the toilet, okay, but can anyone explain why?

Our furniture and car seats wouldn't be affected but our toilets would? I know, it feels like a dumb question, but the details might make us feel more confident to have such testing.

Reece 08-23-2008 07:22 PM

Re: Radiation exposure
The rai dose comes out in your your couch should be safe....

Eagle 08-23-2008 07:45 PM

Re: Radiation exposure
[QUOTE=Reece;3701325]The rai dose comes out in your your couch should be safe....[/QUOTE]

Oh. Of course. What was I thinking?

So you'd just tell them at the hospital that you have children at home, and they would know what to give you. And probably there's something they like to use for older people.

Rai? I for one have to read the archives thread again, with all that's going on in the world right now.

Thanks much.

famnd 08-23-2008 09:27 PM

Re: Radiation exposure
Thanks everyone for such a quick response. Apparently I wasn't clear in my post.

I was given a I-131 for a DIAGNOSTIC test not the tracer dose given before I-131 TREATMENT for thyroid cancer. This test was to rule out hyperthyroidism. I was given I-131.

Now patients are given I-123 or another drug for this thyroid scan. I-123 is NOT HARMFUL TO THE THYROID. As opposed to I-131 which kills thyroid cells. Info from the Endo Association.

I was given 49 uci which I found out is units of one millicurie which is smaller than ONE millicurie. Up to 100 units is considered low risk radiation. The info said no precautions are necessary. I will double check this info with a lab & my surgeon.

There has been no thyroid cancer in my family & only one case of cancer. I still have to get hold of my cousin to find out the reason for her Mom's tt. at age 30. We have three adults with hypothyroidism.

The surgeon was very insistent that I go over my history & my daughter childhood because he said it was very unusual for her to get thyroid cancer without radiation exposure.
I am not a good surgical risk even the surgeon agrees on that one. He just looked at my history & said a TT would be very diffiult. So I am in a different situation than someone younger who doesn't have so many red flags.

BTW I didn't have any nodules @ the time of the scan when I was 36 & in the midst of thyroiditis.

What would we do without the internet :). Thanks again.

Eagle 08-24-2008 11:36 AM

Re: Radiation exposure
Right, I'd certainly be lost w/out the internet! And thanks for your post and the additional checking. You had all this testing several decades ago? And there's probably been even more progress since then?

That's probably not a "one" but an alphabet letter "I" in I-131 and I-123?
Uci and millicures? Up to 100 units low

Thanks so much for your willingness to help us.

midwest1 08-24-2008 03:12 PM

Re: Radiation exposure
[quote=famnd]The surgeon was very insistent that I go over my history & my daughter childhood because he said it was very unusual for her to get thyroid cancer without radiation exposure.[/quote]Pardon me for asking the obvious... Why doesn't the surgeon help you figure this out instead of relying on laypeople for answers?

famnd 08-24-2008 08:44 PM

Re: Radiation exposure
My surgeon is very booked up. He did go over the history pretty thoroughly but I didn't have all the facts at the time. I really don't want to make another appointment until I get another Ultra sound in Oct. The more I delve into this the more questions I Thank you for asking. Fam

DR37 08-24-2008 11:00 PM

Re: Radiation exposure
Hey Fam! Sorry to hear about your daughters' thyroid and health issues :(

This is what I was told for my I-131 RAI treatment a few weeks ago (which was 200 millicuries): Stay 7 feet away from people for first 2 days. Flush twice, shower at least once a day, wash my own bed linens daily. The nurse even told me to wipe off surfaces I touched that other people came in contact with, like the fridge. I was also to keep my distance from others (including not sleeping next to hubby) for 7 days after treatment. I was not to ride in a car with others, sit close to people during a movie, things of that nature. I had a pretty high dose, so they were pretty strict with precautions for me. It seems, though, that the dose you had in '77 was much smaller, so I'm not sure what effect it had on your small children. I stayed away from my 2 yr old daughter for the entire week just to be safe. Anyway, good luck to you and yours! Hope all goes well! :)

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