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Is radioactive iodine treatment recommended? Why or why not?

Radioactive iodine treatment is recommended for certain patients with thyroid cancer depending on the final pathology. Factors like the size of the cancer, the extent of the cancer, and whether or not a patient has metastatic disease to the lymph nodes in the neck are all considered when deciding whether or not to recommend radioactive iodine treatment.

When Dr. Kroeker sees her patients for their one week follow up after surgery, she usually has an idea as to whether or not they are going to need radioactive iodine. She will then refer the patient to an endocrinologist who will talk to the patient about the risks and benefits of radioactive iodine, and whether or not they would recommend further treatment. Dr. Kroeker is always willing to work with the endocrinologist to help make a recommendation for or against radioactive iodine treatment.

The procedure itself entails taking a radioactive iodine pill and typically has quite a few rules and guidelines a patient must follow before and during treatment, which the endocrinologist will review with the patient.