• Question: Can nuclear medicine be studied to help prevent/cure cancer?

    Asked by roseymalone to Julie on 18 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Julie Speakman

      Julie Speakman answered on 18 Nov 2013:

      Hello roseymalone!
      The answer is Yes definitely and that forms a lot of our work.
      Many of our scans are concerned with finding cancer as early as possible – one example of this is a Nuclear Medicine bone scan, which can be a picture of your whole skeleton, so it can look a bit like an X-ray. But, what it is actually showing is places where there is extra bone turnover – this happens for a number of reasons but often happens when cancer from another part of the body has spread to the bones. This is called Bone Metastases and a nuclear medicine bone scan is very important for this as it can often spot this happening much much sooner that other imaging techniques. Generally, with cancer, the sooner you can spot it, the better are the chances of curing it.

      We are also involved in treating cancer. One of the most common treatments uses something called radioactive iodine to treat Thyroid Cancer. We also have some treatments for bone metastases (as I described above)including something called Strontium. We have also been involved in a trial of a new treatment for bone metastases, which uses Alpha radiation – this is exciting because it’s not been done before. (Ask me if you’re not sure what I mean by alpha radiation!)