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Medical experience had eliminated the fear that radioiodine causes carcinoma of the thyroid, and led to its use in patients of all ages. However the Chernobyl disaster revived concern about exposure of children and it would be wise again to restrict radioiodine treatment to adults. Pregnant women should not be treated with radioiodine (131I) because it crosses the placenta.

There is a theoretical risk of teratogenic effect and patients should not reproduce for an arbitrary 12 months after treatment.

Larger doses of radioiodine are used for thyroid carcinoma than for hyperthyroidism, and there is an increased incidence of late leukaemia in these patients. The treatment of thyroid carcinoma is highly specialised.

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