M. Alex Brown, Ph.D. radiochemistry: Medical isotopes are a class of radioactive isotopes used by hospitals to monitor the body’s functions and destroy cancerous tissues. They’re different from x-rays and CT scans that use accelerators to generate radiation. As of 2012 nearly 40 million people every year receive a diagnostic procedure with a medical isotope in what’s estimated to be a $5 billion/year industry, according to world-nuclear.org. Radiation therapy extends to the treatment of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, HIV, liver cancer, thyroid cancer, breast cancer, and more.
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