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Are patients undergoing external beam radiation treatment radioactive?

Are patients undergoing external beam radiation treatment radioactive?

Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Can children be around family members that are taking radiation therapy for breast cancer? 

Answer

Lawrence J. Solin, MD, FACR, Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Patients undergoing external beam radiation treatment are not radioactive after their treatments, and do not pose any radiation hazard to anyone around them. There is no hazard to young children, for example, even when playing or carrying them.