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Hi,

I am scheduled to have RAI in July following a positive HCC diagnosis. I have a bunch of questions that I didn't think to ask when I met my doctor and wanted to know if there are any men here who had RAI would love to know what your experience was like. Women are welcome to respond, too. I have a bunch of questions in my head like:

  • Will this effect my ability to have more kids?
  • Should I freeze some sperm?
  • Do I have to wipe down everything I touch? My TV remote, keyboard, etc?
  • Is it sufficient enough to launder clothes or should I throw them out.
  • Aside from drinking water a lot, is there any other things I can do to get the radioactive stuff out faster?

Anything else I should know?
 

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The general rule of thumb for both men and women is to wait a year before trying for kids. Since sperm regenerates non-stop, RAI shouldn't have a big impact on your ability to reproduce.

RAI mostly "come out" of your body via bodily fluids. Mostly, urine and feces. If can also be in saliva and sweat. I did not wipe anything down because my hands weren't sweating...it might be warm where you are now...if it is and you've been sweating, it might be good to use soap and water to wipe things down that you have touched for an extended period of time. Whatever you do, do NOT use bleach or products infused with bleach. That causes a chemical reaction and turns the radioactive material into a gas. Soap and water is good.

You can simply launder your clothes. Use hot water and, again, no bleach, and you should wash the clothes separately from any other household member's clothes.

The water is mainly to protect your salivary glands. RAI can cause dry mouth which can damage those glands. You don't REALLY want to be flushing the radioactive material out because, well, the point is to have it hang around long enough to kill the thyroid cancer cells. Especially if you have HCC.

I thought the surgery was pretty easy, but RAI absolutely kicked my arse. My neck ached and I felt like I had the flu for about two days. I didn't expect that. I thought it would be take a pill and go. I was flat out in bed and really couldn't do anything. There are lots of people who experience nausea (I didn't) -- you might want to ask about zofran or other anti-nausea meds just in case.
 
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Will this effect my ability to have more kids? Should I freeze some sperm?

The RAI treatment may cause temporary infertility for men (reduced sperm count). Usually this is resolved within 20-48 months. However, this happens not always. It is a good idea to freeze sperm, if you really want to have more kids.

Do I have to wipe down everything I touch? My TV remote, keyboard, etc?

I have did a dosimeter test after the RAI of my wife. Her cell phone was almost clean. So, the answer depends on who else will touch the mentioned equipment during the one month period. If they will be touched by children, it is highly recommended to wipe them with wet wiper, towel.

Is it sufficient enough to launder clothes or should I throw them out.

Your clothes will be moderately radioactive. When you come home, launder them. One time of laundering will wash out the majority of radiation and they will be absolutely safe for any adult person. If you have a fear for radiation, then my suggestion is to launder them twice by using "water plus" function in your washing machine. After the second wash they will be absolutely clean.

Anything else I should know?

There is a scientific evidence that vitamin E protects against dysfunction of salivary glands during and after RAI.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24751702

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261769942_Adverse_effects_of_radioactive_iodine-131_treatment_for_differentiated_thyroid_carcinoma
 
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