Side effects of RAI treatment
Usually, being temporarily radioactive is the only major side effect of RAI treatment. Drinking lots of water helps the RAI treatment pass out of your body faster and also reduces the bladder’s exposure to radiation.
Because the salivary glands may absorb some iodine, you might have a dry mouth as well as taste and smell changes for a few weeks after treatment. Some people will have ongoing problems with swelling and pain in their salivary glands. Ask your treatment team for medicines (e.g. paracetamol) to relieve swelling and pain. Other side effects, such as tiredness, are often caused by thyroid hormone withdrawal, but will improve when your thyroid hormone levels return to normal.
A/Prof Diana Learoyd, Endocrinologist, Northern Cancer Institute, and Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Gabrielle Cehic, Nuclear Medicine Physician and Oncologist, South Australia Medical Imaging (SAMI), and Senior Staff Specialist, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, SA; Dr Kiernan Hughes, Endocrinologist, Northern Endocrine and St Vincents Hospital, NSW; Yvonne King, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Dr Christine Lai, Senior Consultant Surgeon, Breast and Endocrine Surgical Unit, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and Senior Lecturer, Discipline of Surgery, University of Adelaide, SA; A/Prof Nat Lenzo, Nuclear Physician and Specialist in Internal Medicine, Group Clinical Director, GenesisCare Theranostics, and The University of Western Australia, WA; Ilona Lillington, Clinical Nurse Consultant (Thyroid and Brachytherapy), Cancer Care Services, Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital, QLD; Jonathan Park, Consumer.
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