Radium treatments, also known as radium therapy or radium-based brachytherapy, refer to a type of radiation therapy that uses radium isotopes as a source of ionizing radiation to treat various diseases, particularly cancer. Radium, a radioactive element, emits alpha, beta, and gamma radiation upon decay. Radium-226, the most common isotope used in treatments, has a half-life of approximately 1,600 years.
In the early 20th century, radium treatments gained popularity for treating various forms of cancer, such as cervical, prostate, and breast cancer. Radium was often used in brachytherapy, a technique where radioactive sources are placed in or near the tumor. This allows for the delivery of high doses of radiation directly to the cancer cells while minimizing damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.
Radium therapy has been largely replaced by other forms of radiation therapy and brachytherapy in recent years, mainly due to the availability of more effective and safer radioisotopes, such as Iodine-125, Cesium-131, and Palladium-103. These newer radioisotopes offer better control over radiation doses, reduced exposure to medical personnel, and a more favorable radiation profile.
Despite its historical significance in cancer treatment, the use of radium has been associated with certain risks and side effects, including tissue damage, radiation-induced malignancies, and contamination hazards. Consequently, modern radiation therapy techniques using alternative radioisotopes and advanced technologies have become the standard approach for cancer treatment, providing more effective and safer options for patients.