Radionuclide Therapies

Radioiodine (Iodine-131) Therapy

radionuclide.gifIndications

  • Thyrotoxicosis (Thyroid overactivity)

  • Multinodular goitre

  • Thyroid cancer

Healthinfo.org.nz Radioiodine for Thyroid Cancer

Healthinfo.org.nz Radioiodine Treatment for Thyrotoxicosis

 

How the Radioiodine works

Radioiodine works by destroying a large number of thyroid cells. The treatment is given in a drink of water or as a capsule - like an antibiotic capsule, the radioiodine has no taste. Occasionally more than one treatment is required.

How safe is Radioiodine?

Radioiodine is a very safe and effective treatment that has been used since the 1940's. Patients will be radioactive for a short period following therapy and will need to observe some simple measures to reduce radiation exposure to other people during this time. Most patients develop hypothyroidism (thyroid underactivity) following treatment. Close follow-up with blood tests is necessary to detect this so that replacement thyroid hormone (thyroxine) can be started early.

Referral process

Patients are referred to the Thyroid Endocrine Physicians for treatment. The Physicians will discuss the indications and outcome fully and give radiation protection instructions. For Canterbury patients, follow-up will be arranged at the Thyroid Clinic.

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Strontium-89 Therapy

Indications

  • Metastatic prostatic carcinoma

How the Strontium-89 works

Strontium-89 behaves like calcium in the body, when injected it will collect in the bone metastases (secondaries). These are areas of bone which are absorbing extra calcium and are often painful. It will then deliver radiation directly to the affected area, giving relief from pain.

How safe is Strontium-89?

The effects of Strontium-89 within the body are limited to the small area where it concentrates. It cannot cause any harm to any other people by bodily contact. However during the first few days after injection, some strontium-89 will be present in the blood and urine so the patient will be instructed to observe rigorous hygiene during this time.

Referral process

Patients are referred by an Oncologist licensed to give this therapy. They will discuss the indications and outcome fully and give radiation protection instructions. Nuclear Medicine Department staff will arrange the Strontium-89 delivery, dispense the dose and organise the patient appointment.

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Phosphorus-32 Therapy

Indications  

  • Polycythaemia vera

  • Essential thrombocythaemia

How the Phosphorus-32 works

Following intravenous injection, the radionuclide Phosphorus-32 selectively concentrates in the rapidly dividing cells of the bone marrow and in cortical bone. The radiation delivered suppresses the growth of these cells which are dividing more rapidly than normal.

How safe is Phosphorus-32?

The effects of Phosphorus-32 within the body are limited to the areas where it concentrates. It cannot cause any harm to any other people by bodily contact. However during the first few days after injection, some phosphorus-32 will be present in the blood and urine so the patient will be instructed to observe rigorous hygiene during this time.

Referral process

Patients are referred by a Haematologist licensed to give this therapy. They will discuss the indications and outcome fully and give radiation protection instructions. Nuclear Medicine Department staff will arrange the Phosphorus-32 delivery, dispense the dose and organise the patient appointment.

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Page last reviewed: 23 March 2015
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