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Radionuclide therapy is a type of brachytherapy, an internal radiation therapy for cancer. Also called radioisotope therapy, it uses radioactive medicines targeted to specific cancer cells. Targeting the cancer cells helps reduce potential side effects.
Taken by mouth or intravenous injection, radionuclide therapy is a systemic treatment, which means it flows through the bloodstream and affects the entire body. It kills specific primary cancer cells.
A unique feature of radionuclide therapy is it also kills any metastatic cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body without harming healthy tissue.
Radionuclide therapy dates to the early 1900s. Today, we use radionuclide therapy to treat cancers of the:
- Adrenal glands
- Bone (sarcoma)
- Lymphatic system (lymphoma)