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Alarms over radiation from thyroid cancer patients


After reading the article I felt alarmed for the general public but couldn't help but shiver at the thought of the exposed Healthcare workers (and I know we take precautions..but still)


Cancer patients sent home after treatment with radioactive iodine have contaminated hotel rooms and set off alarms on public transportation, a congressional investigation has found.

They've come into close contact with vulnerable people, including pregnant women and children, and the household trash from their homes has triggered radiation detectors at landfills.

Okay. So, what do the folks at Fox News want done?

Okay. So, what do the folks at Fox News want done?

Its actually an AP story..it can be read from multiple news sites..I just chose Fox because I was there at the time.

I had radioactive iodine treatment for CA 15 years ago and I did not have to take any precautions. I was in high school at the time and I went to school, to work, etc. I don't think anyone realized the risks. Now I believe people are quarantined in the hospital after a treatment-at least in SD. :eek:


Specializes in Pediatrics, PICU, CM, DM. Has 18 years experience.

I had I-131 treatment 25 years ago, and was kept in the hospital for 3-4 days afterwards. The nursing and radiology staff swept both me, and the room itself, for radiation with a geiger counter multiple times a day. Even after a diagnostic dose for followup testing in 2001, I was advised not to go to work at all that day, and to seek an alternate assignment (my usual role was admission nurse in the newborn nursery) for several days afterwards. Since that was my last encounter with radiotherapy, I hadn't realized that the regulations had become so lax lately.

Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

I don't normally trust Fox News, but this happened to my brother-in-law a few years ago. He'd just had something done to his thyroid, was headed to Toronto for a ballgame, and set off a radiation alarm at the border crossing.

I had this and was given the choice of staying in the hospital after drinking the I-131 or going home. If you're going home, you're supposed to stay home and not stay around family members or pets for long periods. Keep to yourself. I would guess the people who are doing this either haven't been educated enough or just did what they wanted with no regard for others. I preferred to stay at the hospital, but after I was sent home I was still supposed to be careful for a few days. They certainly don't *make* you stay in a hospital.

ETA: I'm not sure what you're supposed to do about your trash if you are sent home when you are still capable of contaminating things.

nerdtonurse?, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Telemetry.

Your rad count has to be below 1400, you are told to use one bathroom, double sheet the bed, and not be around any one person longer than 1 hour total per day. This gets interesting when the ride home is over 1 hour long. And anything with body fluids on it, you are told to flush. Radioactive fish, anyone?

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

This is not just the concern of thyroid CA patients -- patients with hyperthyroidism/Graves disease also sometimes undergo the I-131 intervention as well.

Here's a Mayo Clinic patient information website about treatment of Graves disease.


" ...

Radioactive iodine treatment. To make thyroid hormone, your body needs iodine and uses whatever form of iodine is available in your blood. When you take radioactive iodine, the iodine collects in your thyroid gland, and over time the radioactivity destroys the overactive thyroid cells. This causes your thyroid gland to shrink, and problems lessen gradually, usually over several weeks to several months.

Because this treatment causes thyroid activity to decline, you'll likely later need thyroxine treatment to supply your body with normal amounts of thyroid hormones. Treatment doesn't require a hospital stay.