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April 1966

Treating Head and Neck Cancer With Radioactive Isotopes

Arch Otolaryngol. 1966;83(4):360-367. doi:10.1001/archotol.1966.00760020362015

THE AVAILABILITY of radioactive isotopes introduces a challenge in their application in the treatment of certain cancers of the head and neck.1-7 Approximately 1,000 radioactive isotopes are available; therefore, the physician can choose his radiologic spectrum at will. For example, he has the choice of an isotope with a half-life of a few seconds to that of one with a half-life of many hundreds of years; his choice may be one of the βray emitters (here there is a wide range in the energy produced) or one of the γ-ray emitters; he has available a variety of radioactive elements which can be used in any physical state and which can be incorporated into a compound of his choice. Table 1 presents the physical characteristics and uses of some of the commonly used radioactive isotopes.