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Radioactive iodine

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2004


I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer after undergoing a partial thyroidectomy. The remainder of my thyroid was removed three weeks later, and they found no evidence of cancer in this half. The doctor said that they caught things in the very early stages, my prognosis was good, and as far as he was concerned, I could consider myself cured. As an insurance policy, he said that I should go through the radioactive iodine treatments. (By the way, this doctor has a very high reputation where I live - he is supposed to be the best)

I am off my thyroid meds and waiting to start the RAI. The reason I am confused is because I keep hearing people talk about a low iodine diet, but I wasn't given any instructions as to needing to follow one. I called the doctor's office and asked, and they said as long as I avoided seafood and any supplements containing iodine, I would be fine. There need not be any other restrictions.

Does this seem like something that I should be concerned about? Or is this because I was diagnosed so early, so the more extreme restrictions aren't necessary?


Posts: 38
Joined: Oct 2003

Hi Heidi
I am a patient since 1988(I was 18 years old)I am going to be 35 in Sept.In 1989 after my baby was born I had to go for the Radioactive treatment,at that time I was taken off of my pills and told not to eat no seafood(just like you right now)Now in 2003 I went for my body scan and I was put on a low iodine diet.I could tell you that I've had 3 treatments already being the last one in 2003 and all I would do was always buy the salt that says PLAIN(this salt does not contain iodine)don't eat seafood and try not to eat out unless like me I would eat baked potatoes and the rest of my family would eat all the good stuff.And at home I would prepare my meats with a little garlic powder in the begining it's going to taste terrible but you know it's for your health so you get use to it.If you want to know more you can email me at: caburtonpr@yahoo.com
I hope I've been of some help

Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2004

I was diagnosed last year, total thyroidectemy, followed by RAI. I was put on the low iodine diet which included, processed foods with salt, seafood, limited amounts of meat, no dairy, no soy products, no foods containing soy products. I do not know why I was put on this and you were not. But I was told the reason was that you need to starve your thyroid cells of iodine so that when you receive the RAI, any remaining thyroid tissue left over from the surgery (and there is usually some) will soak up the radiation and kill the cells so they do not spread to lymphnodes, lungs or bones. Other than that, I don't know what to tell ya! You might want to visit thyca.org and read about the RAI and low iodine diet. it's very helpful. If you'd like to talk more, feel free to email me

lisaboggs's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi! I had the same experience with my treatment last year. Our histories sound very similar. I did not have to follow a low iodine diet for my scan lat year, but for my one year follow up in September I do. My doctor is very well known in my area too, and I seem to be following a different plan than anyone I have met with Thyroid cancer. If you would like to talk more or have any questions e-mail me at jnlboggs5@netzero.net. Good luck! Lisa

Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2004

I'm not sure about your version or your doctor. But my doctor has also had papillary thyroid cancer. He does stick me on the low-iodine diet when I get my radiation treatment. I get all my information on the diet at www.thyca.org they have a cook-book and what to eat and what not to eat. It is very very helpful. I suggest checking it out.

The idea as I understand it is to starve the remaining thyroid and cancer cells of the iodine (which they regularly absorb) so that when you get your treatment they absorb as much of the radioactive iodine as possible.

I go in for my second radiation treatment this week. I've been on the diet for 3 weeks now, it's very very hard to do, but I'd rather zap all those little buggers than take my chances of having to do this for many years to come.

I have a lady at my church makes me some meals following the cook-book guidelines and I make some soups to freeze and eat during the course of the diet. It is really helpful to have someone help you cook since you get so tired. I'm not married so I fend for myself - but this lady is a Godsend.

www.thyca.org low-iodine cook book is available in PDF form to print.

Good luck!

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