Flexi Says: The extremely high energy of gamma rays allows them to penetrate just about anything. They can even pass through bones and teeth. This makes gamma rays very dangerous. They can destroy living cells, produce gene mutations, and cause cancer. Ironically, the deadly effects of gamma rays can be used to treat cancer. In this type of treatment, a medical device sends out focused gamma rays that target cancerous cells. The gamma rays kill the cells and destroy the cancer. Gamma rays are also used to sterilize medical equipment and some foods. Astronomers study gamma radiation to learn about the universe.