Radiation was once seen as a harmful phenomenon. But as the years went by, the medicine and treatments have evolved to include radiation as a method of treating diseases. We are looking at x-rays, gamma rays, and other forms of radiation that have proven to be useful. We’ll take a look at the most common uses of radiation in medicine and how we can detect harmful doses.
Radiation takes a unique position by being both helpful and harmful for humans. Ideally, one would steer clear of doses of radiation regardless of the amount to stay healthy. Unless you are required to undergo treatment with radiation or are using it in tandem with another treatment, you should avoid it.
An excellent way to measure the surrounding types of radiation, whether it’s nuclear, solar, or electromagnetic, is with a radiation detector and similar products. Some of the best and easiest devices are small in size, such as this radiation detector watch, which specializes in detecting gamma radiation. It can be worn on your wrist and is also referred to as a Geiger counter.
The operation of the device is quite intriguing. A Geiger counter is usually embedded with helium or neon, among a few others. The gas chosen in the radiation detector will react to surrounding radiation.
If radiation is detected, the gas within the counter will ionize. A counter within your radiation detector device will measure the amount of ionization to determine the radiation levels. It will then alert you and display the measurements on the screen of your counter. You can also set your radiation detector watch to sound the warning bells with LED lights and vibrating alarms to notify you of potentially dangerous amounts of radiation.
Radiation Uses in Medicine
Low levels of radiation are emitted from devices to create an image of the body. Generally, low levels of emissions are permitted, but the levels depend on the type of treatment and test.
The radiation levels are critical because, for example, when children are exposed to the same levels of radiation as adults, they are more at risk. Some concerns for body imaging devices on children include:
- Higher sensitivity
- Slow development of symptoms
- Higher risk of radiation types of cancer.
Radiation can also be used to treat certain diseases such as cancer. High amounts of ion radiation are focused on the cancer cells in an attempt to eradicate them – but radiation therapy isn’t without its risks. Some of the risks include:
- Mutation of other cells
- Harmful to healthy cells
- Adverse effects on the body include hair loss and nausea.
Oftentimes, radiation therapy is utilized alongside other forms of treatment for cancer, such as chemotherapy and some surgeries, among others. Even with the number of risks that an individual will encounter through their radiation journey, it remains the only surefire way to treat cancer other than surgery.
How it Works
What’s beneficial about radiation therapy is it does not discriminate the type of cancer. It is widely used to treat most types with a high percentage of success, depending on the stage.
It pinpoints and targets cells and will eventually eradicate cancerous ones. It’s done by focusing an external beam of radiation onto designated points on your body. It’s different from brachytherapy, which consists of utilizing radiation that is embedded directly into your body.
However, we mentioned before that radiation does not discriminate. This, unfortunately, pertains to healthy cells as well. It will take a definite toll on the body, but over time, the healthy cells will be able to recover from the radiation damage and repair your body.