Diagnostics and treatment with nuclear medicine

Nuclear medicine is a field specialized in radiology, and it is one of the technologies that has made a clear difference in the field of diagnosis and treatment, and it is based on the use of very small and safe amounts of radioactive drugs. to diagnose health issues, such as some tumours, and to treat them. To examine the functions of organs.

Diagnostics and treatment with nuclear medicine

The most crucial information regarding the use of nuclear medicine in disease diagnosis and treatment can be found in the article that follows:

Diagnostic nuclear medicine

1. How is diagnosis aided by nuclear medicine?

The foundation of nuclear medicine is the administration of radioactive material, typically by injection, to the patient. The specialist then uses positron emission tomography (PET) or single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to track this material, observing how much is absorbed by cells and how individuals interact with it.

This provides a clear picture of how the organ performs its job, making it easier to diagnose many illnesses or understand how they work, particularly issues with the heart and kidneys, in addition to figuring out how active tumours are, how far they have spread, and how quickly they respond to treatment.

Nuclear medicine image types 2

The following tests are some of the ones that nuclear medicine practitioners use for diagnostic purposes:

  • Imaging (FDG-PET Scan)

This kind of technology is used to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy cells, which allows for accurate cancer diagnosis, knowledge of the disease's stage, and tracking of the tumor's response to therapy.

When combined with an FDG-PET scan, computed tomography or MRI scans enable the simultaneous capture of anatomical and behavioural images.

  • Myocardial perfusion imaging

The heart's functionality, general health, and extent of any damage caused by strokes can all be evaluated using the nuclear image.

  • visualising the kidneys

It gives an illustrative picture of the kidneys and reveals any defect in them. ureteral stenosis included.

  • Thyroid imaging

Nuclear imaging can evaluate the thyroid gland's health, find any nodules or masses inside of it, or even figure out what's causing its elevated activity.

  • Test for prostate-specific antigen (PSMA PET)

This test greatly helped locate prostate cancerous cells and thus facilitated their treatment and dealing with them. The good news is that this test can identify prostate cancer at stages other tests were unable to.

  • Imaging (DOTATOC PET)

Neuroendocrine tumours (also known as neurohormonal tumours) can be found using this imaging technique. The radioactive material is administered intravenously, and the examination typically lasts 20 to 25 minutes.

Nuclear medicine treatment

A radioactive drug is injected into the body to bind to target cells, destroy them, or stop their growth. This is how nuclear medicine treats patients. In some cases of thyroid tumours, prostate cancer, neurohormonal tumours, and other conditions, this therapy is a fantastic choice. Nuclear therapy may be the best option in some cases of cancer that have not responded to any other treatment.

1. How does nuclear medicine work to treat tumours?

A medication (made from radioactive substances) is administered orally or by injection. This drug is characterized by its ability to bind to cancer cells more than healthy cells and stick to them, and once attached to them, the rays emitted from inside the cell work to kill them.

However, an amount of the drug may remain that is not attached to any cancer cells to remain floating in the blood, and this amount can be eliminated from the body over time, mostly through urine. To achieve good results, nuclear medicine treatments must frequently be repeated several times.

To get the best results from nuclear medicine, it can be used in combination with other treatment options, such as chemotherapy or surgery. Nuclear medicine can be applied prior to or following these therapies.

2. What advantages and benefits do nuclear medicine oncology offer?

The following are some benefits of nuclear medicine treatment:

  • Since this treatment only affects cancer cells, it won't seriously harm healthy, non-cancerous cells.
  • Some tumours and cancers that have not responded to other treatments can be treated with it.
  • It's a simple, non-threatening option.
  • Controls symptoms in many patients.
  • It reduces tumour size and, in some cases, stops tumour growth for years.

3. Case studies in oncology using nuclear medicine

Al-Mousa Hospital uses nuclear medicine to treat tumours in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Thyroid cancer

When thyroid cancer is present, this therapy is used. After the affected thyroid tissue has been surgically removed, the patient is given radioactive iodine (I-131) to eradicate any cancer cells that may have persisted.

The benefit of this type of treatment is that it does not harm healthy body cells, resulting in no serious side effects. It may also aid in eliminating thyroid cancer cells that have spread to the lymph nodes or other body parts.

  • Metastatic bone tumor

An example of the uses of nuclear medicine is the drug Lexidronam samarium 153, which is a radioactive drug used to treat some diseases, and is most used to relieve pain in people whose tumors have reached the bones. similar to some instances of breast cancer that has bone metastases.

  • promising cases

Other tumours that the hospital hopes to treat with nuclear medicine will be soon be able to receive it, such as:

  1. Treatment of prostate cancer with Lu-177 lutetium isotope, as it has been shown to be effective in treating prostate cancer that has not responded to other therapies or if the cancer has metastasized. Before that, PSMA imaging is performed to ensure that the treatment targets the cancer cells. 
  2. Treatment of neuroendocrine tumors (neurohormonal tumors) with Lu-177 lutetium isotope.
  3. treatment with 131 I-MIBG; Where a person with neuroendocrine tumor is given radioactive iodine I-131; Cancer cells are able to capture this radioactive iodine, and thus cancer cells die.
  • radioactive iodine therapy for hyperthyroidism

In some cases of hyperthyroidism, radioactive iodine may be administered. Where the patient is given a capsule of radioactive iodine, after which it is recommended to drink a large amount of water, and usually a single dose is sufficient to treat hyperthyroidism, and it may take a few weeks or perhaps a few months to recover and disappear the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

However, the patient will require a second dose if symptoms continue after six months of treatment with the first dose.

You can make an appointment at Al-Mousa Hospital to receive nuclear medicine diagnosis and treatment there by clicking this link.

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