As a radiologist’s one question you may have at the start of your education is what is Radiation in terms of medical uses and that are the possible side effects to the patient and possible to you. Below we will take a look at both of issues.
What is Radiation?
By definition, radiation is a form of energy that is discharged out in the form of waves and/or particles. It cannot be detected by any of the body’s natural senses, taste, touch, small or sight. It can come from numerous places and everyone is exposed to everyone at some point in small, unnoticeable doses.
Radiation in the Medical Field
One of the more commonly known sources that people are exposed to radiation is through medical imaging, radiology testing and treatment. Some of the treatments include:
- Computed tomography scans
The way an X-ray works is by using medical imaging to take an image of inside a human body. Through these pictures, they allow for doctors to provide the patient and their family with an accurate diagnosis and follow-up with treatment. The job of the radiologist is to limit the amount of radiation the patient is exposed to.
Risks to Radiation Exposure
Even though there are many medical benefits to medical imaging to further the healthcare fields knowledge of the diagnosing disease and how to establish treatment there is an existence of risks. The radiation that patients are evidently exposed to it could increase their risk to cancer. Exposure to radiation in larger quantities could change the patient’s physical appearance from burns to the loss of their hair. Hair loss is often a side effect seen in cancer patients that undergo radiation therapy.
Outside Of Medical Imaging can Radiation Exposure Occur?
Some other areas in which a person may be exposed to levels of radiation throughout their daily lives may include people who are employed at a nuclear power plant, power plant accidents, hazardous material transport, just to name a few.
There have been some fears that the radioactive waste would be stored in underground storage containers, the possibility of these containers being damaged and possible radioactive gas leaks have been a concern since these containers could leak into an underground water source.
If material that has been exposed to radiation is taken into the body either through the mouth or through the nose, there could be more of a chance of cancer and other defects.