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Nuclear medicine is the use of radiation and imaging systems to detect disease. A nuclear medicine physician uses radioactive substances to diagnose and treat cancer and other diseases, and to research treatment for diseases. The radioactive molecules are administered to patients and then measured in the body, or samples taken from body tissue or fluids are measured. Radiation changes the body’s tissues and cells, so the tests performed after radiation is administered indicate the extent of certain diseases. Sometimes radiation is used to kill certain cancer cells, or to reduce the pain of bone cancer. A nuclear medicine physician uses radiology to learn the effectiveness of tumor treatment, to detect cancer, diagnose infection and inflammation, or detect a blood clot in the lungs.
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