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Relatively New Cancer

Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2005

Good Morning,

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer on Sept. 21, 2005. I have had a multitude of tests followed by a total thyroidectomy on November 25, 2005. I am scheduled to have the I-131 scan done on Jan. 10, 2006. Can anyone give me an idea of what I have to look forward to regarding how the test is done? I am also to have the radioactive iodine done either that same day or the following? Very confused.

Please advise if you have had this done and your experience.


Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006


You may want to contact the American Cancer Society's National Cancer Information Center. Cancer Information Specialists area available 24 hours a day to assist you with your questions. They can be reached at 1-800-227-2345 or by clicking on the "Contact ACS" link at the top of the page.

Take care and be well,

CSN Dana

Rustifox's picture
Posts: 110
Joined: Mar 2005

Usually the procedure for radioactive iodine scans is:
Stop thyroid hormones - 3-6 weeks prior - sometimes they will give you cytomel, a short acting hormone; this needs to be stopped 14 days prior to the scan and/or treatments;
- at 14 days prior, begin the low iodine diet - there is lots of info on this here:
And you may find this very helpful, too:

More information can also be located through either the online forum or local support groups in your area:
http://www.thyca.org/support.htm and here is a very busy list group - sometimes 100 plus messages a day, with over 3000 of us:

About a week, up to a few days before, or even sometimes the day of the dose, we have bloodwork done, to ensure the TSH is high enough, to measure our thyroglobulin level, and ensure we are not pregnant before swallowing the radioactive iodine.

Most docs like our TSH to be above at least 30 for scans, and some prefer above 50 for treatment doses.

My hospital usually gives me the dose on Tuesday, then does the scan on Friday. We continue the low iodine diet for about 24-48 hours after taking the dose, to ensure the best uptake in thyroid like tissues.

If you might be going forward with a (higher) treatment dose following the scan, you do need to remain on the low iodine diet until the treatment dose is completed, too.

There is some good info on procedures at one US hospital here - this is primarily for treatment doses, though - scan doses are usually very small - 2-5 mCi's, while our treatment doses can range from 29.9 up to 200mCi's:

Hope this helps a bit. There are a bunch of links about these things on my personal webpage here - just search under member name "Rustifox".

lmkatz's picture
Posts: 6
Joined: Dec 2005

Hi, I'm supposed to have the radioactive iodine treatment in Feb, so I would love to hear about your experience once you get it done. Your energy level the weeks prior, and how quickly you feel normal afterwards....



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