14 doctors weighed in:

What is the difference between radiation therapy and nuclear medicine?

14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Akiva Mintz
Nuclear Medicine
4 doctors agree

In brief: Nuc Med injects dyes

In nuclear medicine, we inject radioactive "dyes" to image or treat patients.
In radiation oncology, x-rays are generated outside the patient and irradiate tumors (usually) that are in the body. They treat different diseases.

In brief: Nuc Med injects dyes

In nuclear medicine, we inject radioactive "dyes" to image or treat patients.
In radiation oncology, x-rays are generated outside the patient and irradiate tumors (usually) that are in the body. They treat different diseases.
Dr. Akiva Mintz
Dr. Akiva Mintz
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Dr. Carlo Contreras
Surgery - Oncology
4 doctors agree

In brief: Energy levels

Generally (there are exceptions), nuclear medicine deals with radioisotopes of lower energy.
The radioactive energy sources are generally joined to other chemicals or drugs that are administered to patients and detected by scans. Radiation therapy uses radioactive sources to form a beam of energy that is directed towards a particular tumor or part of the body with the intent of killing cancer.

In brief: Energy levels

Generally (there are exceptions), nuclear medicine deals with radioisotopes of lower energy.
The radioactive energy sources are generally joined to other chemicals or drugs that are administered to patients and detected by scans. Radiation therapy uses radioactive sources to form a beam of energy that is directed towards a particular tumor or part of the body with the intent of killing cancer.
Dr. Carlo Contreras
Dr. Carlo Contreras
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Dr. Richard Bensinger
Ophthalmology
3 doctors agree

In brief: Treatment v. diagnos

Radiation therapy is the use of radiation or particle energy directed at a part of the body to shrink tumors in that location.
It is treatment. Nuclear medicine is the use of radioactive isotopes in the proper form to localize pathology in the body. It is a form of diagnosis and not treatment although it might guide treatment by other means.

In brief: Treatment v. diagnos

Radiation therapy is the use of radiation or particle energy directed at a part of the body to shrink tumors in that location.
It is treatment. Nuclear medicine is the use of radioactive isotopes in the proper form to localize pathology in the body. It is a form of diagnosis and not treatment although it might guide treatment by other means.
Dr. Richard Bensinger
Dr. Richard Bensinger
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2 comments
Dr. Carlo Contreras
There are some exceptions: nuclear medicine radioactive iodine ablation of thyroid cancer after surgery.
Dr. Carlo Contreras
GENERALLY (there are exceptions), nuclear medicine deals with radioisotopes of lower energy. The radioactive energy sources are generally joined to other chemicals or drugs that are administered to patients and detected by scans. Radiation therapy uses radioactive sources to form a beam of energy that is directed towards a particular tumor or part of the body with the intent of killing cancer.
Dr. Gerald Mandell
Nuclear Medicine

In brief: Some differences

Nuclear medicine uses isotopes mainly for functional diagnoses of disorders of gall bladder, heart, brain, lungs, thyroid,bones, kidneys and bladder.Nuclear medicine has a few therapeutic uses including thyroid ablation and therapy for prostate bone metastases.
Radiotherapy can involve radiation therapy with xray and proton beams, not usually considered part of nuclear medicine, but rad. oncology

In brief: Some differences

Nuclear medicine uses isotopes mainly for functional diagnoses of disorders of gall bladder, heart, brain, lungs, thyroid,bones, kidneys and bladder.Nuclear medicine has a few therapeutic uses including thyroid ablation and therapy for prostate bone metastases.
Radiotherapy can involve radiation therapy with xray and proton beams, not usually considered part of nuclear medicine, but rad. oncology
Dr. Gerald Mandell
Dr. Gerald Mandell
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Dr. Thomas Heston
Family Medicine

In brief: Delivery

Radiation therapy usually refers to delivery of radiation via an external beam, whereas nuclear medicine therapies typically deliver the radiation to the target organ by injecting the tracer into the bloodstream.

In brief: Delivery

Radiation therapy usually refers to delivery of radiation via an external beam, whereas nuclear medicine therapies typically deliver the radiation to the target organ by injecting the tracer into the bloodstream.
Dr. Thomas Heston
Dr. Thomas Heston
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Dr. Andrew Turrisi
Radiation Oncology

In brief: I do not use

Unsealed sources (131 iodine) to treat thyroid cancer, (samarium 153) to treat bone pain, yttrium in zevlin or Bexxar (tositumomab) to treat lymphoma, and these are done along with diagnostic in nuc med.
Radiotherapy depts use photons/ xrays, ?Protons and neutrons as beam therapy and sealed sources i-125 ir -192 for brachytherapy, low and high dose rates. Hope this helps!

In brief: I do not use

Unsealed sources (131 iodine) to treat thyroid cancer, (samarium 153) to treat bone pain, yttrium in zevlin or Bexxar (tositumomab) to treat lymphoma, and these are done along with diagnostic in nuc med.
Radiotherapy depts use photons/ xrays, ?Protons and neutrons as beam therapy and sealed sources i-125 ir -192 for brachytherapy, low and high dose rates. Hope this helps!
Dr. Andrew Turrisi
Dr. Andrew Turrisi
Thank
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