Nuclear medicine is being increasingly used in India for great many applications in diagnosis and treatment of diseases like cancer, according to Dr Atul Pathak, Head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine, Escorts Heart and Super Specialty Institute.
Nuclear medicine is especially useful in medical imaging, that uses the nuclear properties of matter in diagnosis and therapy.
Recently, the Escorts hospital treated eleven patients suffering from malfunctions of thyroid with encouraging results. All these patients were in the age group of 26 to 65 years.
Seventy per cent of the patients were women and suffering from 'Hyperthyroidism (Graves Disease)', a condition leading to severe weight loss, palpitations and tremors.
After radio-iodine treatment, all these patients reported normal functioning of thyroid and were cleared of majority of symptoms, leading to positive lifestyle changes.
"Nuclear medical examination in comparison with other diagnostic techniques like blood, urine and stool testing besides X-Ray, CT Scan, MRI, ECHO, ECG are unique, highly precise, extremely accurate", claimed Dr. Atul.
He further adds, "Other imaging procedures cannot attain similar results ". Nuclear testing has proved to be a boon in several cases like determining kidney functions in diabetic patients or of others vital organs like -- heart, thyroid, liver, gall bladder, blood flow, intestines. It is also useful to determine the presence or spread of cancer, locations of infections or bone evaluation in fractures, infection, arthritis or tumour.
"Quicker and accurate diagnosis means controlling the situation early and thereby saving lives and medical expenditure" said Dr Atul. In comparison to some tests like Endoscopy for stomach and other digestive problems - nuclear testing is less invasive, less traumatic besides allergic reactions are extremely rare.
In nuclear testing - radioactive tracer substances are administered to patients orally, intravenously or by other means. The movement of this substance in the body helps in diagnosis by imaging. However, pregnant women are not advised to undergo such testing.
Dr ML Chawla, Executive Director of Escorts said that the hospital intends to start 'bone-pain relieving ' treatment for cancer patients, which reduces pain by almost 90 percent, besides nuclear therapy for thyroid cancer.