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Radiotherapy uses high energy radiation in a very controlled way to treat cancer and other diseases of the body. Radiation works by damaging the DNA inside cells causing them to stop reproducing and die. Abnormal cancer cells are more sensitive to radiation because they divide more quickly than normal cells. Over time, the abnormal cells die and the tumor shrinks. Normal cells can also be damaged by radiation, but they can repair themselves more effectively, just like your skin heals after sunburn.

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The main goal of radiation therapy is to maximize the radiation dose delivered to abnormal cells, such as cancer cells, while minimizing the dose received by normal cells surrounding them. This minimizes the chance of any side effects. The effects of ionizing radiation are not instant; the treatment benefit occurs over time. Typically, more aggressive tumors, whose cells divide rapidly, respond more quickly to radiation. Radiation therapy is painless treatment option and will not make patients radioactive.

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Radiation is often given with the intent of destroying tumors and curing the diseases. However, not all cancer can be cured with radiation. Sometimes radiation is used to relieve symptoms, such as pain. or it is used to prevent tumors from developing or spreading. It may be used alone or in combination with other treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy. If used before surgery, it will shrink the tumor to make it easier to remove. And, if used after surgery, it will destroy tumor cells that may have been left behind.

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Before I talk more about some of the other radiotherapy devices used throughout the history of radiotherapy, I want to explain the common ways of producing the radiation. These are basic components needed in any radiation device and are achieved...
“If you have been exposed to any form of radiation, either for medical diagnostic purposes (fluoroscopy/mammography/other medical x-ray exams) or in the course of radiotherapy treatment, or if you are otherwise concerned by excessive radiation exposure, overload or poisoning (such...
If you did not already know background radiation is everywhere! But do we need to worry about it? Background radiation is the radiation that is naturally around you and it’s been there for many millennia. This may be an eye...
So back in 1895, a scientists named Roentgen was studying cathode rays using a gas discharge tube.  He saw that other forms of radiation were also being produced that he could detect outside his tube. Because he detecting the radiation...
Right, let’s step back a bit and talk about what exactly is radiation. Many people are curious about what it is and hopefully after reading this you will realize that it’s not as mysterious as you first thought. I often...
Who and what are these professionals known as medical physicists? Generally speaking, Medical Physics is a profession that deals with applying physics into medicine. There are many physics concepts applied in many areas of medicine, whether it be diagnostics, intervention...
Let’s start with a few basic things about human cells; the things that make up your body. They basically do one of four things at anyone time things – grow, move, change, or die. The body sends out messages to...