Radioisotope therapy delivers radiation directly into the cancer cells. You are given the radioisotope or radionuclide usually as a capsule, drink or injection into a vein. Cancer cells absorb the radioactive substance more than normal cells. This means they receive a higher dose of radiation, causing them to die.
There are different types of radioisotope treatment depending on what type of cancer you have:
- Iodine-131 is used to treat certain types of thyroid cancer and some rarer types of cancer. You may need to stay in hospital for this treatment.
- Strontium-89 and samarium-153 is used to treat some types of secondary bone cancer. They can help reduce pain.
- Radium-223 is a new radioisotope therapy that is used to treat secondary bone cancer.
Radioisotope therapy can make you radioactive for some time afterwards. Your doctor will tell you about any precautions you will need to take when you go home.