Helping you win the fight against thyroid cancer
Whole-Body Scan at Beverly Hospital
A whole-body scan is a type of nuclear medicine test for people with thyroid cancer. It helps us determine if cancer cells have spread from your thyroid gland or returned after treatment. It’s one of the many tools we use to ensure you get excellent cancer care.
Your Whole-Body Scan
The whole-body scan is a process that takes place over several days. Be sure to notify your nurse and technologist if there’s any chance you could be pregnant.
- On Monday and Tuesday of the week of your scan, you receive injections of Thyrogen from a registered nurse. This takes place in the Diabetes & Endocrinology department. Thyrogen is a protein similar to thyroid-stimulating hormone. Having it in your body makes your scan more sensitive and allows you to stay on your thyroid hormone.
- On Wednesday, you come to the Nuclear Medicine department, where we give you a radiotracer to swallow. It comes in a capsule. You must avoid eating or drinking for four hours before swallowing the capsule and for one hour after.
- On Thursday, you return to the Nuclear Medicine department for your scan.
(Please note: For 10 days prior to your scan, we may ask you to avoid foods and medicines that contain iodine. Avoiding the mineral reduces your body’s storage of iodine and allows any thyroid cells in your body to absorb the iodine you receive before your test. If you have questions about dietary restrictions, please contact the doctor who ordered your exam.
It’s also important to tell the doctor who orders your test if you’ve had other X-rays or scans within a month of your whole-body scan. Other procedures may also use iodine, which could interfere with your scan.)
- On Friday, you go to the laboratory and have a Thyroglobulin draw. Thyroglobulin is a protein found in your blood. It can help us screen for thyroid cancer recurrence.
What to Expect During Your Procedure
Your scan itself is relatively simple.
Your technologist positions you on a table and the test will begin. Throughout the scan, the technologist gives you instructions. The scan takes two to three hours.
After Your Scan
There are no restrictions following this test. You may return to your regular diet once the scan is complete.
Your primary care doctor and your endocrinologist receive the results of your scan within 48 hours. It’s important to discuss your results with the doctor ordering your test. Please be sure you have a follow-up appointment scheduled.