How do they use isotopes in medicine?
What is a medical isotope?
A medical isotope is a very small quantity of radioactive substance for treatment of disease. New technologies enable medical isotopes to be delivered directly to diseased cells.
Who uses medical isotopes?
The medical specialty that uses medical isotopes for diagnosis is called nuclear medicine. Doctors that perform nuclear medicine procedures for cancer are called radiation oncologists.
What can medical isotopes do in diagnosis?
Radioisotopes give off energy that can be detected by special equipment. When small quantities are introduced into the body, the imaging equipment tracks their location and movement. This enables the doctors to learn more about the diseased tissues. Medical isotope diagnostic procedures often enable an earlier and more complete disease diagnosis and therefore more rapid and effective treatment.
What can medical isotopes do in cancer treatment?
The energy given off by radioisotopes is very effective at zapping diseased cells. When they are delivered straight to the cancer cells, healthy tissues are spared while cancer cells are eliminated.
Where are medical isotopes made?
Medical isotopes are made in either accelerators or nuclear reactors. Today, the United States imports about 90% of the medical isotopes used in hospitals and clinics.