How is radiation given?

What about side effects?

Using radioactive chemicals

Using radioactive chemicals

Another way to use radiation involves injecting a radioactive chemical into the bloodstream. Radioactive chemicals take advantage of the way certain parts of the body take up specific chemicals (in order to reach the site where they will do the most good).

Overactive thyroid glands have been treated this way for many years using radioactive iodine. More recently, radioactive strontium-89 has been used to treat bone metastases that have spread throughout the body.

Radioactive chemicals affect cancer cells the same way that external radiation therapy does, but often cause fewer side effects.

The most common side effect is bone marrow depression (reduced functioning inside the bones where the blood cells are made). More radioactive chemicals are likely to be available in the future.

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