Radioisotope therapy delivers radiation directly into the cancer cells. You are given the radioisotope or radionucleotide usually as a capsule, drink, or injection into a vein. Cancer cells absorb the radioactive substance more than normal cells. This means they receive a higher dose of radiation, causing them to die.

There are different types of radioisotope treatment depending on the type of cancer you have:

  • Iodine-131 is used to treat certain types of thyroid cancer and some rare cancers. You may have to remain in the hospital for this treatment.
  • Strontium-89 and samarium-153 are used to treat some types of secondary bone cancer. They can help reduce pain.
  • Radium-223 is a new radioisotope therapy that is used to treat secondary bone cancer.

Radioisotope therapy may make you radioactive for a period of time afterwards. Your doctor will inform you of the precautions that have to be taken when you go home.