Bone cancer, gamma scan

Bone cancer, gamma scan

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Credit: ISM/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Bone cancer. Coloured gamma scan of the skeleton of a 15-year-old patient, showing secondary bone cancers (yellow) and the original bone cancer (here an osteosarcoma) from which they spread. The skeleton is seen from the front (left) and from behind (right). The largest cancer is in the right shoulder. Once a cancer has spread (metastasised) the prognosis is poor. A gamma scan (also called a scintigram) is obtained by injecting a radioactive isotope (here Tc-99m, Technetium-99m). This tracer material becomes concentrated in the cancerous tissues and is detected by the gamma radiation it emits.

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