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radionuclide scanning

A procedure that produces pictures (scans) of structures inside the body, including areas where there are cancer cells. Radionuclide scanning is used to diagnose, stage, and monitor disease. A small amount of a radioactive chemical (radionuclide) is injected into a vein or swallowed. Different radionuclides travel through the blood to different organs. A machine with a special camera moves over the person lying on a table and detects the type of radiation given off by the radionuclides. A computer forms an image of the areas where the radionuclide builds up. These areas may contain cancer cells. Also called scintigraphy.

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