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27-Apr-2020 04:47

Beams of radiation both enter and exit the body through healthy tissue, and tiny movements by the patient and even breathing can put the tumour slightly off target, leading to side effects from damaged healthy tissue.

This is a particular issue for children and young people, whose delicate and growing bodies are particularly susceptible to these off-target effects.

The radioactive iodine is given as a drink or in a pill and is then taken up by the thyroid cancer cells, but not healthy cells, and hence has few side effects.

This is known as radioactive liquid therapy and is one of two main types of internal radiotherapy.

The other, called brachytherapy, involves placing a radioactive implant next to the tumour, such as tiny metal pellets or wires.

Although internal radiotherapy works well for certain cancers, external radiotherapy is the most common type used.

There are also a variety of other tricks to make the treatment more accurate, such as aiming the beams from a number of angles so that they can closely shape the tumour, or switching up their intensity.

Ultimately, this work laid the foundations for modern radiotherapy, which has dramatically improved since its inception.Different kinds of radiation are used here, usually x-rays but sometimes tiny particles like protons which are found in the hearts of atoms.

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