Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on any of the following questions to expand/contract the corresponding answer(s):-

What is Theranostics?

Theranostics is a combination of the terms therapeutics and diagnostics. It describes the combination of using one or more radioactive drugs, called radiopharmaceuticals, to identify (diagnose) and deliver therapy to treat tumorous cell(s). This is possible because the radiopharmaceuticals used in Theranostics exploit the biological pathways in the body that are specific to the tumour cells themselves; allowing them to be imaged and/or treated with therapeutic doses of radiation when administered to patients.

To learn more about Theranostics, please click on the following link.

Is it safe?

The procedures used in Nuclear Medicine are extremely safe with no adverse long-term effects observed thus far. The amount of radiation used with each procedure is minimal, short-lived and typically expelled from the body within days by natural processes. Only very small amounts of radiopharmaceuticals are given to patients during the procedures performed in Nuclear Medicine; just enough to provide the necessary diagnostic information.

While there are still some small risks associated with the radiation exposure received during these procedures, the benefits gained far outweigh the risks incurred. In many cases, it may not be possible to gain the relevant information necessary from other diagnostic tests or procedures. Furthermore, specialist knowledge and training enables our staff to optimise the amount of radiation received by patients for any given examination. This allows us to obtain the required diagnostic information without any unnecessary or excessive exposure to radiation.

Are there any side-effects?

For diagnostic procedures, the likelihood of side-effects are very rare as the amount of radiopharmaceutical given is very small and is not intended to effect the body in any meaningful way. However, for therapeutic procedures, there is a small likelihood of side-effects but they are often mild and well tolerated. Any potential side-effects that may arise from the therapy will be discussed with you by our physicians well before you are administered with the therapeutic agent.

If you would like further information about this, please contact us using the details that can be found via the link.

Can I bring anyone to accompany me?

Yes, you can bring a friend, relative or loved one with you. However, it is recommended not to bring any children or someone who is pregnant with you to avoid them receiving unnecessary radiation exposure. If you are caring for children and must bring them with you, please contact us for advice.

What if I'm pregnant and/or breastfeeding?

Typically, nuclear medicine procedures are not performed on women who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding; with alternative imaging techniques and procedures that do not use radiation being performed instead wherever possible (i.e. ultrasound and MRI). However, if you are intending to have a procedure with us and you are pregnant, think you are pregnant or are breastfeeding, and please contact us. It is possible the alternative arrangements may need to be made to minimise the risk of radiation exposure to the child.

After the procedure, is it safe for me to travel, go home or return to work?

In most instances, you will be safe to travel, go home or return to work after having a procedure with us.

Most procedures utilise radiopharmaceuticals that are short-lived and cleared from the body quickly after being administered; thereby posing negligible risks to others. However, certain radiopharmaceuticals, such as those used for therapeutic procedures (iodine-131, lutetium-177 PSMA), may remain in the body for several weeks after administration and you may be instructed to undertake some additional precautions to minimise the potential risks of radiation exposure to others.

If your work involves the use of radiation, you may not allowed to return to work immediately but it is recommended that you inform your workplace.

If you are travelling overseas after having a procedure done, please inform the staff at your appointment as the radioactivity in your body could be potentially detected by the sensitive radiator detectors that are installed at airports. A letter can be prepared for you to provide airport security in the advent of any radioactivity being detected at by the sensors at the airport.

How do I prepare for my procedure?

The preparation required will vary depending on the type of procedure you are scheduled to have with us. Some procedures will not require any preparation whilst others may require fasting, hydrating or the cessation of certain types of medications.

For more preparation information specific to your procedure, please click on the link for contact details and to download the appropriate preparation sheet.

Are there any restrictions I must observed after the test?

For the majority of procedures performed within the Theranostics & Nuclear Medicine service, there are no restrictions to observe upon the completion of the procedure. However, you may be asked to restrict contact with pregnant women or children four or more hours after the procedure; depending on what procedure is undertaken. Please contact us for advice or other concerns you may have; particularly if you are currently caring for children.

How do I get to the department?

The department is located on the Level 2 in the Public Hospital. It can be accessed by first entering the Public Hospital via the main entrance on Victoria Street, then by walking towards the lifts and taking the lifts to Level 2. On arriving on Level 2, the entryway to the department is directly opposite the lifts.

To get to the hospital for your appointment, please click on the link for further details.

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