I’ve had so much going on lately that I haven’t had a chance to post anything about the USA Today article from a week ago discussing how radioactive thyroid cancer patients are a threat. You didn’t know I was public enemy #1 now did you?
The article talks about a congressional report stating that the NRC’s relaxed guidelines regarding thyca patients has created a public health threat. Currently a thyroid cancer survivor (and former NRC lawyer) is trying to get the rules changed. In the US, you can and most likely will be sent home with as much as 200mCi’s of RAI floating around in your system whereas in Germany for example you are hospitalized for anything over 8mCi’s. (If you are getting lost with all my acronyms and abbreviations read THIS) There was also a link to an article from 2008 with the title “It Kills Thyroid Cancer, but is Radiation Safe?” The title of this article [as well as several comments posted] upset me because no, radiation isn’t really safe but its the ONLY treatment available to thyroid cancer patients! What do you expect us to do, just wait to die?! Sorry, not ready for that yet!
If you have been reading this blog since day 1, you know that my radiation journey was anything but pleasant. I was extremely sick and wished I had been under closer medical care during my isolation period. Every other cancer patient gets help from their doctor or nurses when they are so nauseated they can’t move, why are thyca patients different? Oh yeah, because we are public health threat and no one, not even the doctors and nurses, want to be anywhere near us while we are emitting radiation.
Going through thyroid cancer RAI is an extremely lonely experience during an already lonely and depressing time. Learning you have possibly endangered a child while radioactive is even worse. I’m glad there are people out there standing up for thyca patients and for the public at large. Maybe we will see some advancements in treatment or new options. We have to do something, especially when the RAI shortage isn’t letting up. We need options and we need to be recognized as “real” cancer patients, not just the ones with the “good cancer”!