Radiation Safety

Radiation Facts

MIBG cannot be inhaled by those present in the room during the infusion or after the patient has been treated.  Some of the MIBG will go to the neuroblastoma cells and the rest leave the body in the urine and other bodily fluids like saliva and stool.  But most will be eliminated through the urine.

The Radiation Safety Team will monitor the radiation levels in the room and in the patient every day.

A patient is typically considered safe for discharge when the radiation level measured at one meter distance from the patient is 2mREM/hr or less.

Radiation Definitions

Radiation- A type of invisible energy that can be used as part of cancer treatment.

Radioactive – A term used to describe something that emits or “gives off” radiation.

Radioisotope – A naturally occuring radioactive substance. In this case, iodine-131 is the radioisotope used in MIBG therapy.

Half-life – As radioisotopes emit radiation, they “decay”or become weaker. The half-life is the amount of time it takes for a radioisotope to emit only half as much radiation. The half-life of iodine-131 is 8 days. Other radioisotopes have half-lives that range from seconds to many years.

Dosimeter – A small device that can be worn used to detect the presence of the radiation dose over (similar to an odometer in a car).

Radiation meter – An electronic device used to detect the presence of radiation and measure radiation levels.

Contamination – The presence of a radioisotope (such as iodine-131) in an unwanted area. For example, radiation found on the soles of shoes or in the hallway outside the MIBG treatment room. Contamination, in this case, is essentially the presence of iodine-131 MIBG anywhere but in the patient’s body or in the toilet (where the urine is disposed of).

Lead shield – Thick barriers made of lead, which is a very dense material. It stops or “absorbs” almost all of the radiation from iodine-131