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Improved Radiotherapy Zeros In On ‘Cold Spots’

Scientists hope a new cancer fighting method will reduce side effects of radiotherapy.

PET_scanner

Photo: Liz West

This PET scanner will help doctors locate cancer 'cold spots.'

Fighting the battle with cancer can be a long and difficult struggle. Common treatment methods, such as radiotherapy, may help beat back cancer, but they also take their toll on the rest of the body.

Scientists hope to improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy by minimizing its negative side-effects on the patient. When fighting this battle, the body needs all the strength and support it can get.

One way they are starting to do this is by running positron emission tomography, or PET scans. By injecting ‘radioactive sugar’ into the tumor, doctors can see where glucose metabolism is the highest.

This is extremely helpful in radiotherapy, because active parts of the tumor have a much higher metabolism than regular tissue. The PET scan allows doctors to focus on the most active and dangerous areas and decrease the amount of radiation to the ‘cold spots,’ or areas of dead tumor cells.

By decreasing unnecessary radiation, the severity of harmful side-effects should, in turn, decrease.

Read More:

  • Finding Cancer ‘Cold Spots’ Can Help Minimize Radiotherapy Side-Effects (ScienceDaily)
  • Radiotherapy Side-Effects May Be Minimized By Finding Cancer ‘Cold Spots’ (MedicalNewsToday)

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Molly Plunkett

is a journalism student at Indiana University and an online producer for A Moment of Science. She is originally from Wheaton, IL.

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