Radioacitve Iodine - RAI

Radioactive Iodine (RAI) is a radioactive isotope of iodine. There are two common forms used in medicine; I-131 and I-123.

I-123is used for scanning purposes. It is used because it has a half life of 36 hours and does not produce "stunning" of the thyroid cells which is important when used to determine ablation doses for thyroid cancer.

I-131is used for the ablation treatment of graves disease (overactive hyperthyroidism) and thyroid cancer. It has a half life of 8 days.

RAI can come in a liquid or capsule form. It is stored in a lead container until it is administered to the patient. Each of the three times I received RAI the technician had to take a rolling chair down the hall to retrieve the cylinder and then roll it back to the room where I was because it was so heavy. They could not remove the prescription bottle prior to being in the room with me because the radiation would expose everyone on the "trip" to me. Each time the technician did not handle the prescription bottle. They pulled it from the container with a "tongs" and had me grab the bottle and open it because even that would be too much exposure for them. I then had to take the pills and drink all the water provided. Then I had to show them that I had indeed ingested it - like you would a kid who had to take medicine. Afterward, I quickly exited the hospital. More than likely exposing every person I passed along the way to harmful radiation. I returned home to remain in isolation for 10 days.

Oddly enough, I-131 can result from radioactive fallout from nuclear power plants such as Chernobyl and causes thyroid cancer. The recommendation for protection is to take iodine in these cases to protect the thyroid. Iodine (non-radioactive form) is what finally got my thyroid cancer under control after 3 failed attempts with RAI. Wouldn't one wonder about administering RAI to a thyroid cancer patient when we know it causes cancer already?

The purpose of I-131 in the treatment of thyroid cancer is to kill remaining thyroid tissue after surgical removal and any cancer cells that could not be removed surgically.

The function of I-131 in treatment of thyroid cancer is to kill thyroid tissue along with cancer however, I-131 is not that discriminating. Many doctors tell their patients prior to an ablation treatment that it is the greatest form of treatment because it ONLY goes to the thyroid gland and there is no other cancer treatment like this.THIS IS NOT TRUE. Iodine goes to every gland and mucosal lining in your body. They all use iodine and when it comes in - radioactive or not it will pull it in through its NIS (sodium iodine symporters) into the cells and damage the DNA of that cell. Most will die but many will be mutated through this process. If you spend time on the thyroid cancer boards you will see many women who later get breast cancer and in men it is prostate cancer.

A list of body parts that use iodine (not complete) is below:

Thyroid                  Salivary Glands
Breast                   Lungs
Adrenals                Eyes
Prostate                Gastrointestinal Tract
Kidney                  Ovaries
Thymus                 Uterus

Additional information can be found at Iodine 4 Health.

When I had my last round of RAI (250 mCi's), I lost almost all saliva, had a burning tongue, developed sores on the inside of my nose and vomited for 3 days. I am now sensitive to gluten and am in early menopause. My immune system was low for 1 year after treatment. My breast developed 3 fibrous masses as well. I also went into severe adrenal fatigue. So many things could be tied to RAI yet my Endocrinologist told me there was no correlation and that he had never heard of anyone having issues like I did. Yet it is common - there are many more of us.

If one were to think about all this rationally and lay aside what conventional doctors say, it is impossible to believe that there is no damage to the body. The RAI does not go to just the thyroid bed and attack the remaining tissue and manage to find other "stray" thyroid cancer cells without touching anything. If it is in the blood it is everywhere.  As it exits the body it is in the stomach, intestines and colon along with the bladder.  

Most thyroid cancer patients are told to go on a low iodine diet for 2 weeks prior to the ablation. This starves the body of iodine causing it to pull in every bit of iodine it can when it sees it pass through the bloodstream. Unfortunately this is toxic iodine and is delivered all over the body. Patients are also instructed to go off all thyroid medication until their TSH levels reach 50 or above. These high TSH levels will stimulate more NIS (iodine pumps) to pull in iodine (if you remember, in normal thyroid function, increased TSH is due to low hormone levels which would stimulate NIS to capture iodine so that it could create more hormones - T4 & T3).

I-131 is Iodine that has Uranium on it to make it radioactive. When we tested my hair for levels of toxic metals my doctors and I were surprised to find high levels of uranium. After doing some research I discovered that I-131 was made with uranium. Uranium is a toxic heavy metal that can do damage to the kidneys and bones. Acute toxicity causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and kidney damage.[A]

Even though I had 3 rounds of RAI, I do not recommend it to others. I was not informed that there were natural options available for treating thyroid cancer. It was not until I was facing external beam radiation after 3 failed RAI's that I sought the help of a holistic MD. I am now meeting individuals who have healed from thyroid cancer without thyroidectomies or RAI by using thyroid supporting nutrients.

I recommend working with a qualified holistic doctor when undertaking this task. Cancer is still dangerous when not treated correctly.


[A] Depleted Uranium and the Brain, National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciencies