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Radiation treatment

fdellacosta
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2006

My wife has just been diagnosed with papillary cancer, and they want to remove the entire thyroid and then do the radiation/chemo treatment, do the scan etc. They say it will kill the rogue cells, if any.
Why is radiation used to kill the thyroid cancer cells, when radition is what is thought to cause the cancer in the first place? And if it kills the cancer cells after removal of the Thyroid, why not just start with radiation to kill the cancer cells in the thyroid along with the rouge cancer cells that may have spread?

cbosarge
Posts: 5
Joined: Aug 2006

I also have papillary cancer, diagnosed in January 2006. I have had a total thyroidectomy and went thru the I-131 radioactive iodine treatment. I am assuming this is what your wife will go thru. This will be a pill she will swallow and stay in isolation for 1-5 days. The reason they use this is because the thyroid cells are the only cells in the body that absorb iodine. They put the radioactive substance to kill the remaining residual off. There is no way to rid the neck completely of the thyroid with surgery. So we swallow this pill(s) and it goes to the thyroid cells and cancer cells because they absorb the iodine as well as radioactive materials. Then about six months after this treatment she will go in for a complete body scan. She will again swallow another radioactive iodine pill, but this time the radioactive material will be a tracer. This is so if the cancer is still present it will show up on the scans. She will not have to be isolated this time because it will be only a diagnosis dosage. The reason we wait 6 months is because it takes that long for tissue to die, which is what you are trying to accomplish with the treatment. Please tell your wife to try to remain positive. This is not an easy road but she can and will get thru it. You can have you wife contact me (Cat) at josephiiibosarge@bellsouth.net, I will be glad to answer any questions she may have.

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