- Cancer Information
- Cancer treatment
- Radiation therapy
- Other types of internal radiation therapy
Other types of internal radiation therapy
For some cancers, you may be referred to a nuclear medicine specialist to have another type of internal radiation therapy.
Learn more about:
Also known as radioisotope therapy, this involves radioactive material being taken by mouth as a capsule or liquid or given by injection. The material spreads throughout the body, but particularly targets cancer cells. It delivers high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells with minimal damage to normal tissues.
Different radionuclides are used to treat different cancers. The most common radionuclide therapy is radioactive iodine, which is taken as a capsule and used for thyroid cancer. For more on this, see Thyroid cancer or call 13 11 20.
Other radionuclide therapies include:
- peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT), which uses a small amount of a radioactive substance that has been combined with a cell-targeting protein (peptide). PRRT is used to treat neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) of the bowel, pancreas and lung; and some advanced prostate cancers.
- injection with a small amount of bone-seeking radioactive liquid to target cancer that has spread to the bone.
- injection of radioactive antibodies to treat lymphoma.
Also known as radioembolisation, SIRT stands for selective internal radiation therapy. This method delivers high doses of radiation to cancers in the liver. It uses tiny pellets called microspheres, which contain a radioactive substance. The pellets are injected into a thin tube called a catheter, which is inserted into the main artery (hepatic artery) that supplies blood to the liver.
Radiation from the microspheres damages the cancer cells and their blood supply. This means the cancers can’t get the nutrients they need and they shrink.
For more on this, see Liver cancer.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Madhavi Chilkuri, Radiation Oncologist, Townsville Cancer Centre, The Townsville Hospital, and Dean, RANZCR Faculty of Radiation Oncology, QLD; Polly Baldwin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Patricia Hanley, Consumer; Prof Michael Hofman, Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Physician, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Leanne Hoy, Cancer Nurse Consultant, GenesisCare, VIC; Sharon King, Accredited Practising Dietitian, TAS; Dr Yoo Young (Dominique) Lee, Radiation Oncology Consultant, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Dr Wendy Phillips, Senior Medical Physicist, Department of Radiation Oncology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Katrina Rech, Radiation Therapist and Quality Systems Manager, GenesisCare, SA. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono legal and financial matters, no interest loans or help with small business
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment