Tuesday, August 30, 2011

September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

Everyday all accross America people hear the 3 most life altering words you could ever imagine: " You have cancer."  On that day, these patients lives are changed forever.

It doesn't matter the stage or type of cancer, your race, color, ethnic origin or financial background, those 3 little words are emotionally and, in the vast majority of cases, financially devastating.

Stevie JoEllie's Cancer Care Fund is working tirelessly to reach another kind of day: the day when cancer care related costs are no longer an obstacle to treatment, diagnostic follow up, hormonal replacement therapy or a balance long term wellness plan through our access to care grant program.

The SJCCF Access To Care initiative is designed to provide thyroid cancer patients and survivors insurance deductible and co-pay assistance, serve as a clinical services bridge those who lost healthcare coverage as they aged out of their parents policy, for the underinsured or uninsured waiting for government assistance (medicaid/medicare)and others on a case by case basis.

Thyroid Cancer is the fastest increasing newly diagnosed cancer in America today among people of all ages. As with other cancers early detection is key and women are 3 times more likely to develop the condition. But more importantly young people ages 15 to 35 face unique life long healthcare needs as adult thyroid cancer survivors, needs we are working here to help meet through our access to care initiative.

Help when it matters most. Help when it can protect quality of life. Help that can save lives. We hope you never ever need us, but if you do, we want to be here to help you or someone you love. I invite you today to help us build hope for the future.

Any gift you send will make a huge difference - to those currenly being treated for thyroid cancer, for yourself and for those you love who may face the possibility of cancer in the future. Every step we take could very well benefit someone you love one day.

Disclosure: Stevie JoEllie's Cancer Care Fund is a Project Of United Charitable Programs Inc.a 501(c)3 Public Charity Tax ID #20-4286082 Program #102442.  Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law. All funds raised by Stevie JoEllie's Cancer Care Fund are received by UCP, which, for internal operating purposes, allocates the funds to the Project (SJCCFThyNet). The Program Manager, then makes recommendations for disbursements which are reviewed by UCP for approval

Thank You!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Iodine Radioisotope Effective for Bone Mets From Thyroid Cancer

NEW YORK (Reuters Health)- When differentiated thyroid cancer has spread to bone, iodine-131 can help stabilize the disease and significantly reduce pain, a Chinese team reports.
Iodine-131 has been used to treat differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) for 70 years, the authors note, but it's been very difficult to evaluate its effect on DTC bone metastases.
"The indolent course of DTC requires very large cohorts of patients followed over several decades to confirm significant differences in prognostic factors and treatment efficacy," said Dr. Quan-Yong Luo and colleagues at Shanghai Sixth People's Hospital. "Moreover, DTC patients with bone metastasis are relatively rare."
In a report scheduled for the October print issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, available online now, the researchers report on 106 such patients treated at their center with oral I-131 therapy, up to 13 times at intervals of 4 to 12 months. Follow-up ranged from 1 to 17 years, with the median being 10.5 years.
Based on changes in serum thyroglobulin, I-131 significantly decreased disease activity in 37 cases (34.9%) and stabilized it in 56 patients (52.8%), the team reports.
Treatment also produced significant pain relief in 39 of 61 patients (63.9%) with painful bone metastases.
Survival rates were 86.5% at 5 years and 57.9% at 10 years, Dr. Luo and colleagues report. Factors independently associated with better prognosis were a solitary bone metastasis, the absence of non-osseous metastases, and bone surgery prior to I-131 therapy.
"In summary, I-131 therapy can significantly decrease or stabilize serum Tg (thyroglobulin) and alleviate bone pain. It can also shrink or stabilize lesions for most DTC patients with bone metastases, and therefore, it is an effective treatment modality for bone metastases from DTC," they write.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2011.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Supporting a Loved One with Advanced Medullary Thyroid Cancer

The Voices of Advanced Medullary Thyroid Cancer: Perspectives on supporting a loved one with advanced MTC

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cultivating Gratitude

Feeling grateful can be a calming, serene and spiritual way of life, but for people on the cancer journey, gratitude can be -undestandably - a difficul concept.

Gratitude isn't a new idea. Most spiritual traditions emphasize the value and importance of having compassion for others. In the past several decade there has been a shift to look at gratitude as a useful tool rather and an idea.

Practicing gratitude means appreciating what you have and focusing on the support you receive from others.

With regular practice, gratitude, often can reduce anger and blame, while increasing joy and peace of mind. Being in a grateful state does not mean being blindly optimistic or ignoring unpleasant or negative things. It does involve, however, a shift in the thought process to look at things through a positive lens. 

Can gratefulness become a part of your life during the cancer journey?

Yes! However, it takes thought and intention to practice gratitude. Gratefulness can be another way to cope during the cancer journey. One ritual that promotes feeling grateful is writing a word or sentence describing what you feel grateful for and placing it in a "grateful" jar or box every day. This can help you put life in perspective. When you need a "gratitude" boost, dip into the jar and feast.

Here are few more simple and easy ways to beging practicing gratitude:

  • Write a thank-you note -- it feels good to make others happy. 
  • Work in a garden -- it is almost magical to see flowers grow.
  • Walk barefoot on a beach -- the ocean waves wash away fears.
  • Listen to music -- let the sound take you away.
  • Enjoy nature -- everything under the sun is the gift of life.
  • Tell someone you love them -- we know it but the sound of those words are very powerful and reassuring.

Recently, Eileen, a 46 year old cancer survivor, shared and experience of walking, deep in thought, gazing down at the sidewalk. She happened to glance up and see a big, beautiful maple tree in it's autum splendor. The tree reminded her of all the beauty of the world. As she looked higher, she noticed tree tops formed a circle over her head and opened up to the deep blue sky to reveal a couple of big puffy white clouds.

Following that experience, Eilieen noted," I felt really uplifted and grateful for the moment and all the little blessings I've seen since I first felt my lump. I couldn't help but feel close to my [deceased] mom and dad because I know they are there for me. I told them to hold hands form a big prayer circle and get to work! When I got home and turned up the driveway.  I saw a huge rainbow arching all the way accross the treetops in my backyard, full of color and bright with promise."

Rather than continuing to look down, Eileen literally changed her focus and looked up. Her inward, focus shifted from fear to being able to feel grateful -- for nature and for the support of those who loved her and whom she loved.  When you are grateful, you can become more optimistic, energetic, joyful, better equipped to handle challenges and more likely to help others. Additional benefits include closer ties to family and friends and a deeper sense of purpose.

A grateful heart is part of experiencing a full life -- one where you feel energized to reach out, help others, and have the power to make positive changes in your personal life and in your community. Try it for yourself and see what changes occur.

Editors Note: Article first published by Coping Magazine February 2008 Mary Bornstein is a program staff member at The Gathering Place, a cancer support center located in northeast Ohio. Betsy Kohn is the organization's director of volunteers. They have developed gratitude workshops to help individuals and families find additional ways of coping while on the cancer journey.

To reach Mary or Betsy call (216) 595-9546 or you can  
email   Mary   bornstein@touchedbycancer.org
email   Betsy kohn@touchedbycancer.org

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Faces of Thyroid Cancer: Lucy Advanced Medullary Thyroid Cancer

Stevie JoEllie's Cancer Care Fund is seeking guest bloggers and videographers that would like to participate in our Faces of Thyroid Cancer Series. Share your story and help us raise thyroid cancer awareness, dyspel myths and save lives. You dont have to have a professional video or be a professional author just a willingness to share your story honestly and help raise thyroid cancer awareness in our global cybercommunity.

For more information on this project email info@sjccfthynet.org

Support Our Programs and Services 
Donate $10 USD today: THANK YOU!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is a Clinical Trial for You?

Cancer is and has been one of the most active areas in medical research worldwide for decades. At any time, hundreds of clinical trials are under way on new cancer drugs, treatments or combinations of exisiting treatments.  Many trials may be withing your geographic area. That means you may have access to the very latests treatment for your type and stage of cancer -- even if that drug or treatment option is not on the market yet.

Clinical trials (also called clinical research studies) evaluate new drugs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't yet approved or test new uses for already approved drugs. They also evaluate new combinations of existing drugs and treatments, different dosages of approved drugs, or find the best time to begin using a particular drug or treatment.

How Do Clinical Trials Start?
Every new medication begins in the laboratory. Pharmaceutical company researchers test hundreds of thousands of compounds every year, searching for the few that may prove beneficial. From the time they identify such a compound until it reaches the market (if it does) it could take 10 years or more and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Once compounds show promise in laboratory and animal studies, companies apply to the FDA for permission to conduct human clinical trials. These trials occur in four phases designed to determine specific information, such as risks, safety, and effectiveness compared with a standard drug or therapy.

Each phase is strictly regulated and evaluated, and the safety of the participating is always the top priority. If there are any safety concerns, officials will halt the trial. Only after a cancer drug has been shown to be safe and effective -- or more effective, or otherwise better than existing ones -- does the FDA approve it for sale in the United States of America.

Why Participate in Clinical Trials?
When you volunteer for a cancer clinical trial, you are guaranteed to receive either the treatment under investigation or the best available standard of care treatment. Unlike clinical studies in other therapeutic areas, patients in cancer clinical trials receive a "sugar pill" placebo ONLY if no standard treatment exists, therefore make sure you know if this is the case before signing up for a cancer clinical trial.

Patients in cancer clinical trials also receive increased monitoring and attention from nurses and  doctors due to being in the trial. Other benefits in a cancer clinical trial include:
  • You may receive access to innovative new treatments that aren't available anywhere else.
  • It offers another option if your cancer has become resistant to treatment or has re-ocurred.
  • You can help further medical research not only for yourself but for other cancer patients as well.
Are Clinical Trials Safe?
All cancer or medical treatments carry risks, even those that have been used by thousands of patients. Not all treatments prove to be better that the standard of care and may produce additional side effects. Yet all clinical trials must meet rigourous guidelines designed to protect you. You will be monitored very closely during the trial  for any potential side effects or problems. Also, healthcare professionals involved in the study will explain any known or anticipated risks to you before you commit to the trial. This is part of the informed consent process.

What is Informed Consent?
Informed consent is your right as a clinical trial participant. A document will outline the purpose of the study (clinical trial), the exact treatments you will receive, all possible side effects (known or anticipated) and your right to withdraw at any point. Signing the informed consent form acknowledges that the trial was explained to you and you understand it. However, you can withdraw from a clinical trial at any time , even after signing the form.

Phases of a Clinical Trial:

A clinical trial typically includes four phases of testing and information collection as follows:

Phase 1  This stage tests the safety of a potential new drug or therapy on a small number of humans to find the best dosage and potential side effects.

Phase 2   Using the dose and schedules determined in Phase 1, this stage discovers more about how effective the treatment is for patients.

Phase 3   This stage compares the new drug or therapy with a standard therapy in a randomised study involving hundreds of participants.

Phase 4   After the drug is approved for marketing this stage lets pharmaceutical companies gather more information as the drug is used in thousands of patients and conduct additional trials investigating other uses for it.  

How Do I Participate in a Clinical Trial?
If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, talk to your doctor. Cancer doctors are usually aware of ongoing studies. Very often, they are helping to conduct a trial by having some of their patients participate. Clinical trials are conducted in hospitals, universities, cancer centers, clinics, and even doctor's offices.

Get Help With Decision Making:

Ask questions before signing up for a clinical trial.   Choosing to be in a clinical trial is an important personal decision. Discuss the following questions with your healthcare team to make an informed choice and decision about which clinical trial you participate in.
  • What is the purpose of this trial?
  • How ill I benefit?
  • What are the potential risks?
  • What will be required of me and my family?
  • What kinds of test and procedures are involved?
  • Do I have to change doctors to be in the trial, or can I stay with my own doctor?
  • How will I learn the final result of the study?
  • Will I be paid or do I have to pay to participate in the study?
  • What follow-up is involved once my treatment in the trial ends?
  • What treatment will I receive if I do not participate in this clinical trial?
Please remember your healthcare team and family doctor are the best sources of information for your individual care. If you have any questions about this article or you are interested in clinical trials talk to your doctor.

Stevie JoEllie's Cancer Care Fund is working to develop and launch an access to care grant program for thyroid cancer patients and survivors nationwide. Please consider supporting our unique initiative that includes a set aside fund for healthcare access to assist thyroid cancer survivors with medical costs associated with follow up treatment, annual exams,  diagnostics and medications. 

SJCCFThyNet is a project of United Charitable Programs Inc., a 501(c) 3 Public Charity and as such all donations are tax deductible as allowed by law. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Faces of Thyroid Cancer: Jean Advanced Medullary Thyroid Cancer

Faces of Thyroid Cancer Series: Voices of Advanced Medullary Thyroid Cancer -Jean's Story

Stevie JoEllie's Cancer Care Fund is seeking guest bloggers and videographers that would  like to participate in our Faces of Thyroid Cancer Series.  Share your story and help us raise thyroid cancer awareness, dyspel myths and save lives. You dont have to have a professional video or be a professional author just a willingness to share your story honestly and help raise thyroid cancer awareness in our global cybercommunity.

For more information on this project email info@sjccfthynet.org

Support Our Programs and Services 
Donate $10 USD today: THANK YOU!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Radioactive Iodine Use Rising for Thyroid Cancer

        Use of radioactive iodine for thyroid cancer treatment after surgery increased significantly between 1990 and 2008, according to an analysis of more than 18,000 patients and 981 hospitals. Dr. Megan R. Haymart from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor  discusses the results.

JAMA. 2011;306(7):721-728.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thyroid Cancer Outlook Review By Type

There are four main types of thyroid cancer:

* papillary carcinoma – this is the most common type, accounting for 4 out 5 of all cases; it usually affects people under 40 years of age, especially women

* follicular carcinoma – this accounts for around 1 in 10 cases and tends to affects older adults

* medullary thyroid carcinoma – this accounts for around 1 in 20 cases; unlike the other types of thyroid cancer, cases of medullary thyroid carcinoma can run in families

* anaplastic thyroid carcinoma – this is the least common and most aggressive type of thyroid cancer, accounting for 1 in a 100 cases; most cases of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma affect older people who are between 60 to 80 years of age

In  biological terms, papillary and follicular carcinomas have a lot in common so they are collectively known as differentiated thyroid cancers (DTCs).

Ionising Radiation

The cause of thyroid cancer is largely unclear. The most important risk factor is exposure to ionising radiation, particularly if the exposure occurred during childhood. However, this cause accounts for a tiny minority of cases.

Ionising radiation is the more powerful type of radiation, as opposed to non-ionising radiation, which is the safer type of radiation released by devices such as mobile phones.

Most people will only experience exposure to significant amounts of ionising radiation if they undergo medical procedures such as X-rays or radiotherapy. Even then the amounts should be low enough not to pose a major risk.

However, before the link between ionising radiation and thyroid cancer was properly understood, many children were exposed to potentially dangerous levels of radiation to treat often harmless conditions, such as acne.

Historically, there are two major events that led to people being exposed to high levels of ionising radiation and a subsequent rise in thyroid cancer cases:

* the detonation of atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945

* the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine in 1986

See the Health A-Z topic about Radiation for more information.


Differentiated Thyroid Cancers

The outlook for the differentiated thyroid cancers (DTCs) is very good. These types of thyroid cancer tend to be both very slow growing and relatively straightforward to treat.

Treatment involves a two-step procedure:

* surgery is used to remove most or all of the thyroid gland

* a radioactive chemical called iodine is then used to kill off any remaining cancerous cells

Of the people with DTCs, 80-90% will live a normal lifespan.

Medullary Thyroid Carcinomas

The outlook for cases of medullary thyroid carcinoma is less favourable, as this type of thyroid cancer does not respond to iodine treatment so it can be difficult to remove all of the cancerous cells. However, the outlook is still a lot better than for most other types of cancer.

Survival rates for medullary thyroid carcinoma depend on what stage the cancer has advanced to when it is diagnosed (see Thyroid cancer – diagnosis for more information about the stages of thyroid cancer). If it is diagnosed in its early stages then the outlook is excellent, with almost all (97%) people living at least five years after a diagnosis.

If medullary thyroid carcinoma is only diagnosed when it has spread to other parts of the body then the outlook is poor, with only 1 in 4 people living at least five years after diagnosis.

However, the outlook for advanced medullary thyroid carcinoma may well improve in the future. A number of clinical trials ((a type of research that tests one treatment against another) looking at new types of medication known as targeted therapies have reported good result in terms of extending survival rates. For more information see Thyroid cancer – treatment and Thyroid cancer – clinical trials.

Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is a very aggressive type of thyroid cancer with an extremely poor outlook. Less than 1 in 10 people will live at least five years after receiving a diagnosis, with the average survival time being eight months.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Coping With Advanced Thyroid Cancer, Metastasis or Recurrence

What to do if your cancer returns or you are diagnosed with advanced cancer for the first time?  There are really two groups of people with metastatic cancer: those who are learning for the first time that they have cancer, and those who were diagnosed earlier and have since experienced a recurrence or metastasis.  But both groups have one thing in common: the cancer is considered advanced. That means we have different needs and different concerns than women and men who  have discovered their cancer early.  Many of us who are facing cancer for a second time or more feel that we already know what to expect. 
Please read this blog post carefully and read it again if you need to because there is a chance that you’ll find  a tip you hadn’t thought of before – one that will make your life easier to manage while fighting cancer. It is published with permission and authored by Monica Knoll Executive Director of Cancer 101 and a Breast Cancer Survivor. 

What do you call it?  There is no one term that we all use to describe cancer  that has spread to other parts of our body. Some of us call the cancer advanced. Others prefer to describe it as metastatic.  This difference in terminology can be confusing. For example what’s the difference between stage 3 or stage 4 cancer  and metastatic cancer? The answer is there is no  difference. Cancer that has spread to other organs is  advancing. 

Some healthcare  professionals describe stage 2  as advanced as well. As a cancer patient, it’s important for you as well as your caregivers to understand what the terms you use to describe you cancer. That way you will be able to make more informed choices about treatments.
  • Stage 4 cancer: Cancer that has spread to other organs of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver, or brain.
  • Advanced  cancer: Cancer that has spread to other places in the body and usually cannot be cured.
  • Metastatic cancer: Cancer that has spread from the place where it started to other parts of the body.
  • Recurrent cancer: Cancer that comes back after treatment. It can come back in the same place as the original cancer or in a different part of the body.
As you can see, we may be using different terms, but we’re  really talking about the same thing.

Living “with” metastatic cancer:   Living “with” cancer is easier said than done. But many of  us do live for years with advanced cancer, despite the fact that we wake up every day with uncertainty in our lives. We all know that everyone dies. But for those of us living with cancer, the idea of our own mortality takes on a very real presence.

It would be easy to fall into depression or self-pity. But  many of us make up our mind early that we don’t want to waste one day feeling depressed or sorry for ourselves. We  may not have any control over how much time we have left, but we can control how we plan to live it. For some of us, our cancer is considered a chronic disease because, with treatments, we can keep our cancer at bay and have a good quality of life for a fairly long time.  I hope the following advice helps you live life to the fullest  despite your cancer. I know it helps me every day.

  • Make every day count. If I’m feeling good, I try to be  present in the moment and not take it for granted. Enjoy what you are doing and the people with whom you are spending your time. Enjoy the feeling of feeling good.

  • Be good to yourself: Form reasonable expectations of what you can and can’t do.

  • Improve your appearance: You might just feel better if you do. Get out of those pajamas; wash your face; put on a little lipstick. Get a manicure or a pedicure and a foot rub. 

  • Just Move: Take a walk, a yoga class, or if you are up to it, do something more rigorous. Your  energy and mood will definitely improve. Make sure to talk to your doctor first about exercising. 

  • Eat as well as you can! Eat good nutritional foods that will boost your immune system and give you energy. But don’t deny yourself a little treat, too. 

  • Music: Listen to music that soothes you when you need to relax. Or pick upbeat, happy music when you need to be cheered up or need a little energy boost. I have a few songs that make me feel great when I hear them. Try the theme song to the movie “Rocky” when you are feeling tired or sad. 

  • Count your blessings: I have lived a good life so far and I still do. I have always had food on the table, a roof over my head, a good education, a family who loves me, great friends, and wonderful travels. I then think about people who are living in dire poverty. 
Millions of people in the world have experienced war, and live without food, water, or adequate shelter. Millions have never known what a good day is. While we feel terrible with chemo,  there are millions who are starving. And if I die tomorrow, I know that I have had a great life. If you can, try to take a little time to see what you have and what you have experienced. For me, this gives me peace of mind.

About the Author: Monica Knoll is the Executive Director of Cancer 101. In the fall of 2000, at the age of 36, Monica Knoll was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her diagnosis and treatment involved taking the gene test and testing positive for the BRAC1 gene, undergoing surgeries, joining a national chemotherapy study, eight rounds of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation.  She is also the sister of a 14-year breast cancer survivor and daughter of a father who lost his life to esophageal cancer.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thyroid Nodules, Thyroid Lumps & The Thyroid Enlargement Known as a Goiter.

If your doctor has diagnosed you as having a thyroid nodule, a thyroid lump or an enlargement of the thyroid known as goiter, you'll want to know more about the diagnosis and treatment process, the relationship between nodules to thyroid cancer, and follow up. Alternatively, you may experience a swelling of the thyroid gland, also known as a goiter.

Thyroid nodules are very common. A nodule is a swelling or lump, which can be a solid or liquid filled cyst or mass. Most are benign, but a small percentage can be cancerous. So you should always have a nodule evaluated by your physician as soon as you notice it. An estimated one in 12 to 15 women and one in 50 men has a thyroid nodule More than 90 percent of all thyroid nodules are not cancerous.

Some symptoms of thyroid nodules include palpitations, insomnia, weight loss, anxiety, and tremors, common in hyperthyroidism.  Common hypothyroidism symptoms might include weight gain, fatigue, depression. Some people will cycle back and forth between hyperthyroid and hypothyroid symptoms. Others may have difficulty swallowing, a feeling of fullness, pain or pressure in the neck, a hoarse voice, or neck tenderness. And finally, many people have nodules with no obvious symptoms related to thyroid dysfunction at all.

A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid, and is sometimes used as a term to refer to an enlarged thyroid. The thyroid becomes large enough so that it can be seen as enlarged on ultrasounds or x- rays, and may be enlarged enough to enlarge the neck area visibly. Some symptoms of a goiter include tenderness to the touch, pressing on your windpipe or your esophagus, coughing, hoarseness, shortness of breath, fullness in your neck, choking or shortness of breath at night, or a feeling that food is getting stuck in your throat.

Goitre is caused due to deficiency of iodine in diet, it is also known as Goiter, the deficiency of iodine causes swelling in the neck where thyroid gland is, there are 90% cases worldwide effected by goiter, iodine is a compulsory mineral for avoiding goiter, most commonly it is widely seen in those countries which are developing and the intake of salts or iodine are low there, iodine is to be taken by every men, women, children, teenage and infant to avoid goiter.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Thyroid and Thyroid Disease Risks

The thyroid is a small gland, shaped like a butterfly, located in the lower part of your neck. The function of a gland is to secrete hormones. The main hormones released by the thyroid are triiodothyronine, abbreviated as T3, and thyroxine, abbreviated as T4. These thyroid hormones deliver energy to cells of the body. The most common problems that develop in the thyroid include: hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid), goiter (an enlarged thyroid), thyroid nodules (lumps in the thyroid gland), thyroid cancer (malignant thyroid nodules or tissue), and thyroiditis.

You have a higher risk of developing thyroid disease if, among a variety of factors:

…You have a family member with a thyroid problem

…You have another pituitary or endocrine disease

…You or a family member have another autoimmune disease

…You've been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

…You've been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia

…You're female

…You're over 60

…You've just had a baby

…You're near menopause or menopausal

…You're a smoker

…You've been exposed to radiation

…You've been treated with lithium

…You've been exposed to certain chemicals (i.e., perchlorate, fluoride)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Radioactive Idoine 131: What is it and Why Should You Care?

Iodine-131 is a radioactive particle that is produced by the fission of uranium atoms within nuclear reactors. It can also be produced by plutonium and/or uranium in the detonation of nuclear weapons. Iodine-131 takes the solid form of a purplish-blackish crystal. It can undergo sublimation, which means it can go from a solid to a gas without first becoming a liquid. Iodine-131 dissolves in water.

  • Iodine-131 can get into the environment through air or water.
  • Being that Iodine-131 is created through fission, the substance matures within rods, but if the rods are not carefully monitored then pressure within the rod can increase, leading to corrosion and eventually leakage.
  • Iodine-131 can get into water by a similar process; however it leaks into the liquid surrounding the cracked rod that is typically used to cool it. This liquid then circulates throughout the facility.
  • While Iodine-131 has the tendency to attach to organic particles, such as soil, it can be spread fairly quickly through water.
  • Iodine-131 can be ingested within water; since it dissolves in water it can easily move from the atmosphere to humans.
  • Some doctors actually use small amounts of ingested Iodine-131 to detect thyroid problems.
Health Effects:

  • Long term exposure to radioactive Idodine-131 can cause thyroid cancer.
  • Low doses of Iodine-131 can also lower the activity of the thyroid gland by lowering the production of hormones.
  • Doctors sometimes use small doses of Iodine-131 to treat an overactive thyroid, however the equilibrium must be perfect or the treatment will cause cancer in the area.
  • If large quantities of Iodine-131 are released via some sort of nuclear accident, government agencies can use stable, non radioactive iodine to ensure that people do not absorb too much Iodine-131.

In The News:

Following the collapse of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan due to the earthquakes that took place in early March 2011, Iodine-131 has been a large concern of the world media.
  • On March 23, 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported that tap water should not be consumed by infants in Japan due to the presence of Iodine-131 in the water.
  • In March 2011, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that officials had discovered Iodine-131 in rain water wells in Philadelphia, which were inspected to ensure that the collapse of the plant in Japan didn’t affect water in the U.S. However, the amount found was not lethal, and officials declared the water safe to drink.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has applied both water-based and airborne regulations to Iodine-131.

The regulations limit the amount of Iodine-131 that can legally be released by nuclear plants and various industrial facilities.

Water Treatment:

  • EPA recommends that reverse osmosis be used to treat water containing Iodine-131.
  • EPA also recommends the use of ion exchange to remove Iodine-131.



Forbes, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nuclear Neighbors? RNN Exclusive on Indian Point

Special Report: Indian Point Nuclear Plant neighbors find themselves in living in a Thyroid Cancer Cluster area: MUST SEE IMPORTANT INFORMATION