Other types of internal radiation therapy

For particular cancers, you may be referred to a nuclear medicine specialist for other types of internal radiation therapy.

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Radionuclide therapy

Also known as radioisotope therapy, this therapy involves radioactive material being taken by mouth as a capsule or liquid or given by injection. The material spreads through the body, but particularly targets cancer cells.

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.

See Thyroid Cancer for more information about this treatment or call 13 11 20.

Other radionuclide therapies are used for neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) of the pancreas, bowel and lung; some advanced prostate cancers; cancer that has spread to the bone; and lymphoma. Talk to your treatment team or call 13 11 20 for more information.


Also known 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 blood supply of the cancers. This means the cancers can’t get the nutrients they need and they shrink.

See Liver Cancer to learn more about SIRT.

This information was last reviewed in December 2017
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Cancer information

Thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer develops when the cells of the thyroid gland grow and divide in an abnormal way. Learn more.

Liver cancer
Primary liver cancer is when a malignant tumour starts in the liver. Learn more.

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