Nuclear Medicine Radionuclide Therapies

Advanced therapies that give patients more treatment options

You now have the opportunity to undergo radionuclide treatments for your prostate cancer, neuroendocrine tumor or thyroid cancer. This gives you more options as a patient. We are one of the only sites in Indiana offering a wide array of these treatments.

Talk to your oncologist about whether one of these treatments might be right for you.

Our treatments for metastatic prostate, thyroid, and neuroendocrine cancers include:

First you undergo a specialized PET/CT scan, which helps determine whether you’re eligible for treatment. During this outpatient scan:

  1. Your technologist injects you with a low-dose radioactive tracer via an IV (intravenous) line. The tracer highlights the cancer cells. It is painless and has no side effects.
  2. You lie down in our PET-CT scan machine. Unlike traditional MRI machines, the PET-CT scan machine is a big, open, disc-like tube. You are not likely to feel claustrophobic.
  3. The machine finds the tracer and makes an image of that area in your body. Your scan lasts for about 45 minutes
  4. Your doctor usually shares your results with you within two to three days.
  5. Your oncologist and our nuclear medicine radiologist will determine together if you are eligible for radionuclide treatment. If you are, you will discuss the details of the treatment with one of our radiology nurses. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions of the radiologist. You will then set-up the appointment for the therapy.

Day of Therapy

You will undergo treatment at IU Health University Hospital. Depending on the exact treatment you receive, it may take only a couple hours or it may take most of the day.

  • You will have your own room/bay during the entire treatment
  • The nuclear medicine radiologist will review the treatment and answer anymore questions you might have
  • A nurse and a technologist will administer the treatment and monitor you for the required amount of time to ensure you’re doing well
  • If you are with us for most of the day, you will be able to order breakfast and lunch to be delivered to you

When you are ready to go home, the nurse will review radiation safety instructions with you and again give you the opportunity to ask any remaining questions

Benefits of Radionuclide Therapies

In the appropriate patients, these specialized treatments have been shown to improve overall survival. In addition, some of the treatments may help with pain.

After Your Treatment

You will be advised about follow-up lab work and imaging. In addition, you will receive paperwork with radiation safety instructions and phone numbers in case you have further questions after you’ve left the hospital.

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Call the Nuclear Medicine Department at IU Health University Hospital in Indianapolis with questions (317.944.1811).

Patient Stories for Nuclear Medicine Radionuclide Therapies