Does Nuclear Medicine Save Lives?
Yes! More than 20 million Americans benefit each year from nuclear medicine procedures used to diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases. The use of radiation in these procedures— with low risks—offers a safe and cost-effective means to provide doctors with information that would otherwise require exploratory surgery, necessitate more costly and invasive procedures or simply be unavailable. The risks of not performing a needed medical exam are usually much greater than the risks of the radiation exposures associated with the exam.
Nuclear medicine can be used to:
- determine whether or not organs are functioning normally,
- show whether the blood supply to the heart is adequate,
- detect cancers at an early stage,
- determine the extent of cancer and assess the response of cancer to treatment,
- discover whether the heart can pump blood adequately,
- identify abnormal brain lesions without exploratory surgery,
- detect whether the brain is receiving an adequate blood supply and if brain cells are functioning or not,
- check whether or not kidneys are functioning normally and whether the stomach is emptying properly,
- ascertain lung function and bone density and
- locate a bone fracture before it can be seen on an X-ray.