Friday, December 28, 2007

Radioactive iodine and Hurthle Cell Cancer

Oh boy. This is not good news. The more I read, the worse I feel.

Hurthle cell carcinoma from the thyroid does not readily absorb radioactive iodine (RAI). These are reports from the major medical facilities throughout the country.

Comments from the various reports:
  • "efficacy of radioactive iodine is in question for Hurthle cell cancer"
  • "7 to 10% effective with Hurthle cell cancer"
  • "so ineffective with Hurthle cell cancer, that many doctors don't even prescribe radioactive iodine"

This means two things:

1. There is a far greater chance that the Hurthle cells will survive RAI than be destroyed.
2. You can't use radioactive iodine as a marker (to highlight Hurthle cancer cells) so they can be visible with a full body scan.

My outlook and my prognosis has turned worse.

Plus, I am now confused. Different cancer facilities administer the RAI in different ways.

1. Some use thyrogen instead of hormone cessation.
2. Some say to use T3 during the time T4 is phased out.
3. Some say to stop both T3 and T4.
4. Some say to use Lithium to increase the uptake of RAI.
5. Some say to use 3 smaller doses of RAI, versus one big dose.
6. Some say to wait 2 months, and some say to wait 4-6 months before I use RAI.

I see Dr. Grist on January 3. I am gathering notes to talk to him.

Note: My scar is healing well---there were no sutures used--just glue. The scar is not level yet, but it is looking pretty good. (My dad says I can always get cosmetic surgery from John Griffin, a plastic surgeon, who is the doctor who referred me to Dr. Grist in the first place.)