This is ReachMD, and you’re listening to COVID-19: On The Frontlines. Taken from a live webinar sponsored by Penn Medicine, this program features Dr. Dan Pryma, Professor of Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pryma discusses the delivery of radioactive iodine to thyroid cancer patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s hear from Dr. Pryma now.
So, obviously, over the last several years, there’s been a lot of innovation with the use of radioactive iodine in thyroid cancer. As diagnosis has increased, there is a greater subset of patients who really don’t need postsurgery radioactive iodine, and sort of the goal of the treatment has been really codified in terms of understanding that we’re trying to ablate normal remnant, and so there’s been a huge body of literature towards finding the minimum effective dose for that. So, for the last several years, we’ve been working on trying to really dichotomize doses from the patients who really need an ablative dose who get a low dose to the patients who need an adjuvant dose who get a higher dose and standardizing, and that hasn’t changed at all with the COVID pandemic. Throughout we were able to get radioactive iodine; we were able to treat patients. Because there is good evidence that these treatments are often not urgent, we’re able to counsel patients on when it’s safe for them to wait a month or 2 for the peak to pass, but the patients who are urgent or who had higher-risk disease, we were able to treat them. We did talk about potentially, in appropriate patients, not doing a diagnostic scan so that we could minimize their visits to the hospital a little bit and shorten that, but otherwise, it’s sort of been business as usual. In fact, in one way, the pandemic has really helped us because it took a 10-minute discussion on radiation safety precautions down to talking to patients to just practice social distancing for your family for however many days. It makes it really easy for people to understand what they need to do for radiation safety.
That was Dr. Dan Pryma from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. To access more episodes from COVID-19: On The Frontlines and to add your perspectives toward the fight against this global pandemic, visit us at ReachMD.com and Become Part of the Knowledge. Thank you for listening.