When you hear the word radioactivity, you think directly about dangerous gasses. But radioactivity can also be a way of healing people. The most known are X-rays and radiotherapies. Too much radioactivity is, in contrast with radioactive medicines, dangerous for your body. You can get seriously sick, cancer for example, or even die. A tragic example of this is Tsjernobyl, where a nuclear reactor exploded. In this essay I will try to answer the question: How can radioactivity help people without damaging them inside their body?
As I already mentioned, it depends on the amount of radioactivity you come in touch with whether you will be healed or get sick. There are different types of healing, or helping materials to heal, using radioactivity. These are: o X-ray o Radiotherapy (healing tumours causing cancer) o Radioactive medicines X-rays are mostly used in hospitals, at dentists and orthodontists, by vets and on airports. Doctors and vets can see what is wrong with your bones or what is wrong inside your body. Dentists and orthodontists use them to see how the position of your pillory and teeth are.
On airports they use X-rays for checking of the bags, for metals, like knifes. When a X-ray is used, small pieces, which are radioactive, will be shot. The bones in your body or metals are too thick for the radioactive pieces, so the pieces will stop there. On a picture you see always black and white. The black is the plate you or your bag or pet is laying on, it’s where the radioactivity reached, and the white parts are the bones or metals, where the radioactivity stopped. X-ray has been discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen. He discovered that electrons cause radiation when they hit a metal.
This radiation could expose pictures or lighten fluorescing metals. The name X-ray comes from the unknown x in mathematics. Later Mr. Rontgen discovered that the radiation could go easier trough some substances than others. Because of that the X-rays from now can be made possible, because he discovered that it could not go through bones. Radiotherapy is only used in hospitals. It is used for the healing of bad or good tumours which cause cancer. There are many different cancer, like breast cancer, intestine cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, stomach cancer and more.
When you have a good tumour you are very lucky. These good tumours can not destroy the organ where they are settled. But when you have a bad tumour, you have bad luck. These tumours are able to destroy the organ, and not only damage it. It is also very dangerous if you keep on walking around with this tumour, because it can spread easily through the blood or lymphatic flood. By this way you can get tumours on different places, what is dangerous for your life. You can get cancer by inheriting it from your family or because of an infection.
Some of these infections are: – Human pappilomavirus causing breast cancer – Helicobacter pylori causing stomach cancer – Exposing to asbestos causing lung cancer You can also get cancer because you got too much radioactivity in your body. This is a little special, because you get healed with radioactivity, but you can also get seriously sick because of radioactivity. That can be possible because if a little radiation hits you, and good cells are destroyed, they can heal out of themselves. But when a lot of radiation hits you, too much cells are destroyed to heal out of themselves.
And then cancer can appear. The doctors who work with the X-rays and radiotherapy are protected by a coat of lead they are wearing. The radiation can not go through there and will be blocked, so they can not get cancer. But cancer can be healed with an operation or with radiation, what then is called radiotherapy. At radiotherapy you use ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation is radiation where the electron from the outer shell is beaten away, and the atom turns from neutral to positive. Then the atom becomes an ion, which cause cancer if there are many of them.
With the healing of radiation you have 3 forms; external beam radiotherapy, brachytherapy and unsealed source radiotherapy. External beam radiotherapy is the radiation outside the body, so it goes through the body. A type of external beam radiotherapy, is particle therapy. In this case the particles of the radiation are protons or heavier ions. Brachytherapy is inside the body. A small tube with radioactivity in it is placed in the tumour, and the radiation will start in the hart of the tumour, so there is a big change the tumour is destroyed.
This tube can be placed temporary or permanent. When they are placed temporary, the technique they use is called afterloading. With afterloading a hollow tube is placed in the tumour that has to be treated, and after that the radioactive tubes are put in the hollow tube, so they can reach the tumour easily, without any danger for the doctors and nurses. Unsealed source therapy are systematic radioisotopes given the patient through an infuse or by oral ingestion. Then there is one special type of radiotherapy: Introperative radiotherapy.
This radiotherapy is done directly after an operation where cancer tumours are removed. This is mostly done with breast cancer, brain tumours and anal cancer. There are some disadvantages at radiotherapy. It depends on the amount of radiation you are in touch with how worse the effect of radiation are. If you have been treated for brain or breast tumours, you can get hair loss after or during the treatments. Another common effect of radiation is fatigue. This can stay for a few days or months, but also for years. This depends on the type of cancer and the amount of the radiation.
The working of the radioactive medicines is easy. Doctors in a hospital will inject molecules with radioactivity into the blood of the patient. They will spread quickly through the blood and will stuck on the tumours, but sometimes they also stuck on good cells. The good cells will be destroyed, but if it are not too much cell which are destroyed, only the tumour is gone after radioactive medicines. In Tsjernobyl, in …. , a http://www. delta. tudelft. nl/nl/archief/artikel/radioactieve-geneesmiddelen/5158 http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Radiation.
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