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Patients Receiving Treatment with Radiotherapy Might trigger Security Alarms

A team of doctors, in their article in the British Medical Journal, said patients needed to be warned on the possibility of setting off// the alarms in airports even after many weeks of their treatment.

Radiation treatment is frequently used to treat cancers and thyroid conditions. This warning by the doctors had come following the case where a 46-year-old man had set off alarms at Orlando airport in Florida six weeks after his treatment. It was reported that the person was detained, strip-searched and sniffer dogs brought in before he was ultimately allowed continue on his journey.

It was explained that man had been treated for a thyroid condition, known a s thyrotoxicosis, with radioiodine. Statistics have shown that almost around 10,000 patients in the UK receive such treatment every year for thyroid problems. Experts have explained that radioisotopes are also used for treatment of conditions of the heart, bone, and iodine uptake scans, and that it lasts in the system for a few days.

A team of researchers from City Hospital in Birmingham have said that doctors had to take more steps in explaining to the patients, making them aware that they were radioactive for almost up to 95 days after treatment. They had also quoted a further four examples where people had triggered alarms, which also included two patients who had entered the White House on a public tour and a man who triggered the security alarm at his bank. Dr Kalyan Kumar Gangopadhyay said, “Security alarms have been made more sensitive and people are going to come across these problems more and more.” The doctors had concluded that this practical advice would have to be included into the new guidelines on the use of radioiodine for thyroid disease, which are to be published by the Royal College of Physicians, later in the year.

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