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Whole Body Scan for Thyroid Cancer
Sunday, 22 February 2009 11:16


What is the whole body scan?


The whole body scan is a technique to isolate cancer that has spread or determine if one’s cancer has returned.  Prior to the scan one must take a pill of very low dose of radioactive iodine.  This iodine will be absorbed by the thyroid and thyroid cancer cells.  Then an X-ray scan of your body will be done.  This X-ray will show any iodine cell uptake in your body.


The scan typically takes 25-30 minutes.  It is very simple. 



Can the doctors determined if the cancer is gone?


It cannot be determined with 100% certainty if the cancer is entire gone.  Once one has had the surgery and radioactive iodine oblation, this allows the doctors to check for Thyroglobulin (Tg).  Thyroglobulin is in the blood so a simple blood test is required.  Thyroglobulin is produced by normal thyroid cells and thyroid cancer cells. 


After the radioactive iodine therapy one’s thyroglobulin levels should be non-detectable because hopefully all the cancer and thyroid cells have been destroyed.  If the thyroglobulin levels are non-dectectable then the treatment was successful. However, if one has measurable thyroglobulin this indicates with high suspicion that there still thyroid cancer cells remaining or the thyroid cancer has come back.    


Thyroglobulin levels should be check annually for the rest of one’s life.  This is the main test to monitor if the thyroid cancer has returned.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 February 2012 11:45

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