NRC updates guidance on thyroid treatment

WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. nuclear regulators say doctors need to take extra care to make sure young children aren’t exposed to radiation from thyroid cancer patients.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said patients given therapeutic doses of radioactive iodine-131 should avoid direct or indirect contact with infants and young children for a specific period of time following the therapy. The guidance also recommends that physicians should consider hospitalizing patients whose living conditions may result in the contamination of infants and young children, the agency said in a release.

NRC regulations allow physicians to release patients treated with radioactive material if the total radiation dose to any other person exposed to the patient is not likely to exceed 500 millirem. The agency, however, said there has been concern in recent years that saliva from a patient in the first few days following treatment may result in significant radiation doses to the child’s thyroid.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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