Lesson: Nuclear Radiation in Medicine

In this lesson, we will learn how to determine the suitability of a radioisotope for use in different medical applications.

Sample Question Videos

  • 06:13

Worksheet: Nuclear Radiation in Medicine • 8 Questions • 1 Video

Q1:

Polonium-210 is a radioactive isotope of polonium with a half-life of 138 days. It decays via alpha decay to lead. Which of the following are reasons why polonium-210 cannot be used as a radioactive tracer?

  1. Polonium-210 is too expensive to be used as a radioactive tracer.
  2. Polonium-210 decays too slowly and thus would remain in a person’s system for too long.
  3. Polonium-210 is a very rare isotope, and thus refining it for use in medicine is too difficult.
  4. Polonium-210 decays too quickly and thus would not remain in a person’s system long enough to be useful.
  5. Polonium-210 decays to lead, which is highly toxic.
  6. Polonium-210 decays via alpha decay. Radioactive tracers have to emit gamma rays. The alpha particles released by polonium would be absorbed by the body’s cells.

Q2:

Which of the following correctly explains why gamma radiation is used for radiation beam therapy rather than alpha or beta particles?

Q3:

Which of the following is the correct unit for ionizing radiation dose?

Q4:

Polonium-218 is a radioactive isotope with a half-life of 3.1 minutes. It can decay via alpha decay or beta decay. Which of the following correctly explains why polonium-218 is not suitable for use in gamma-ray beam therapy?

Q5:

The table shows four different radioactive isotopes. Which isotopes would be suitable for use in a radioactive implant?

Isotope Rubidium-82 Cobalt-60 Ruthenium-106 Radon-222
Decay Type 𝛽 𝛽 , 𝛾 𝛽 𝛼
Half-Life 1.27 minutes 5.27 years 1.02 years 3.82 days

Q6:

Rubidium-82 is a radioactive isotope of rubidium that decays via beta decay with a half-life of 1.27 minutes. Which of the following correctly explains why rubidium-82 is not suitable for use in radioactive implants?

Q7:

The table shows five different radioactive isotopes. Which isotopes would be suitable for use in gamma-ray beam therapy?

Isotope Iridium-192 Neodymium-144 Cesium-137 Uranium-238 Polonium-218
Decay Type 𝛽 , 𝛾 𝛼 𝛽 , 𝛾 𝛼 𝛼 , 𝛽
Half-Life 73.8 days 2 . 3 × 1 0   years 30.2 years 4 . 5 × 1 0  years 3.1 minutes

Q8:

The table shows four different radioactive isotopes. Which isotopes would be suitable for use as radioactive tracers?

Isotope Iodine-129 Technetium-99m Rhodium-106 Iodine-123
Decay Type 𝛽 , 𝛾 𝛾 𝛽 , 𝛾 𝛾
Half-Life 15.7 million years 6 hours 30 seconds 13.2 hours

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