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questions about patients on radiation therapy...

I was told (by laymen) that it's not good to hug people or shake hands with people that have been getting radiation therapy for cancer. Is any of this true? Any validity? Thanks in advance...

My father-in-law had targeted radiaton for prostate cancer and had those beads implanted and was told not to hold his toddler grandson on his lap. (that is my son).


If they are receiving brachytherapy (implanted radiation) they are considered "radioactive" They should not have visitors for over 30 min, and children are usually not permitted to visit. There are other restricitions but I can't think right now..

Medic2RN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, IICU, PCU, PACU, EMS. Has 14 years experience.

I believe both radiation therapy and chemotherapy can result in immunosuppression in the cancer patient. Hugging and handshaking can possibly easily infect a patient already susceptible to infections. I would think it would be bad for the patient and not necessarily to the other individual.

I'm just a student right now and this is just off the top of my head - trying to practice my critical thinking! :)


We just DCed a pt that stayed for approx a week after brachytherapy. SHe had thyroid CA and was being treated with Iodine-131. For the few days in the hospital she had private room, visitors limited to 20 min each, no kids or pregnants, and no staff other than nurse or MD who wear a radiation sensor badge in the room. Pt stays mostly in bed behind really thick lead barriers.

Every day they measured the radioation levels she was emitting and after it fell below a certain point she was DCed. She was told though not to get too close to kids or pregnant pple for a few more days until there's really no radioation exposure to outsiders at all.

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