Ionizing radiation is a type of energy released by atoms in the form of electromagnetic waves or particles.
People are exposed to natural sources of ionizing radiation, such as in soil, water, and vegetation, as well as in human-made sources, such as x-rays and medical devices.
Ionizing radiation has many beneficial applications, including uses in medicine, industry, agriculture and research.
As the use of ionizing radiation increases, so does the potential for health hazards if not properly used or contained.
Acute health effects such as skin burns or acute radiation syndrome can occur when doses of radiation exceed certain levels.
Low doses of ionizing radiation can increase the risk of longer term effects such as cancer.
Ionizing radiation is a type of energy released by atoms that travels in the form of electromagnetic waves (gamma or X-rays) or particles (neutrons, beta or alpha). The spontaneous disintegration of atoms is called radioactivity, and the excess energy emitted is a form of ionizing radiation. Unstable elements which disintegrate and emit ionizing radiation are called radionuclides.
All radionuclides are uniquely identified by the type of radiation they emit, the energy of the radiation, and their half-life.
The activity — used as a measure of the amount of a radionuclide present — is expressed in a unit called the becquerel (Bq): one becquerel is one disintegration per second. The half-life is the time required for the activity of a radionuclide to decrease by decay to half of its initial value. The half-life of a radioactive element is the time that it takes for one half of its atoms to disintegrate. This can range from a mere fraction of a second to millions of years (e.g. iodine-131 has a half-life of 8 days while carbon-14 has a half-life of 5730 years).
University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center Doctors Treat Lung and Other Cancers Using Trilogy Image-Guided Radiation Therapy
New Technology Spares Normal Healthy Tissues by Delivering High-Dose Radiation with Pinpoint Accuracy Even to Moving Tumors
December 07, 2006 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center is among the first cancer centers in the nation to treat patients with Trilogy, a powerful new image-guided radiation therapy system that delivers high-dose radiation to even the smallest tumors. The equipment can target an area as small as a pencil point, minimizing the damage to healthy tissue. It also delivers radiation doses more than 60 percent faster than conventional linear accelerators used to treat cancer, which means that patients can receive treatments in much less time.
"Trilogy is the newest and latest advance in radiation treatment technology. This state-of-the-art system combines both imaging and treatment technologies in a single machine, and ties the two together, giving us maximum flexibility in developing the most effective treatment plans for our patients," says William F. Regine, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of radiation oncology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Trilogy can deliver all forms of external-beam radiation therapy Ã¢ÂÂ from conventional radiation treatment and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to the newest and most advanced techniques, such as image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). Trilogy's built-in imaging system can pinpoint the size and location of a patient's tumor moments before each treatment, and a "respiratory gating" component automatically synchronizes the radiation beam to the patient's breathing.
"With Trilogy, we can choose the best treatment option for each patient, whether the cancer is in the chest, abdomen, or head-and-neck area. Patients who come to our cancer center now have all of the latest radiation therapy options available in one place," Dr. Regine says.
Nearly two-thirds of cancer patients receive radiation therapy, either alone or combined with chemotherapy or surgery. Traditional radiation therapy is delivered in small daily doses over the course of weeks. With Trilogy, radiation oncologists can target even the smallest tumors with stereotactic radiotherapy, which is given over a period of several days. Stereotactic procedures deliver concentrated, high-dose radiation directly to the tumor with the help of sophisticated imaging that yields three-dimensional maps of the treatment area.
"For some patients, this type of targeted, high-dose radiation therapy is a very effective, noninvasive alternative to surgery," says Mohan Suntha, M.D., professor and vice chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and associate director of the Greenebaum Cancer Center. "With Trilogy's advanced technology, we can now treat tumors that are close to vital organs without destroying nearby healthy tissue."
The TrilogyÃÂ® linear accelerator, made by Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR), rotates around the patient to deliver radiation treatments from virtually every angle and sculpts the beam to the shape of the tumor. High-tech imaging equipment in robotically controlled arms mounted on the machine provides real-time images used to automatically adjust the patient's position. The system provides several kinds of images, including three-dimensional CT (computed tomography) scans.
"We can give higher doses of radiation to a smaller area over a shorter period of time. This not only allows us to treat cancers when they are small and most curable, but it also reduces side effects and makes the whole treatment process more comfortable for patients," says Cedric Yu, D.Sc., chief medical physicist and professor of radiation oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer,a series of weekend fundraising events, will take place in eight cities from May through October 2007. *******www.avonwalk****
Sherry talk about cancer cures
Gamers Can Now Help Stanford University Researchers with the “FoldingHome” Project
Now you can help fight cancer simply by playing video games from the comfort of your own home. Researchers at Stanford University have teamed up with Sony Computer Entertainment America, the makers of PlayStation, on the “FoldingHome” project. FoldingHome helps researchers study the folding, and more important, misfolding of human proteins, which can lead to understanding the cause and cure of diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cystic fibrosis.
In order to study protein folding, researchers need more than just one super computer, but the massive processing power of thousands of networked computers. Previously, PCs have been the only option for scientists studying this, but now, they have a new, more powerful tool—PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3). The PS3’s cell processor is about 20 times faster at folding than a standard PC, giving even greater results in real time, allowing scientists to not only see but navigate the molecule in 3D.
To take part voluntarily, gamers just need to click on the FoldingHome icon within the main menu of the PS3. Then whenever their game system is idle, it will automatically begin the real-time simulations and the PS3’s graphic chip actually allows you to watch the process first hand. You can even manipulate and study the protein strand yourself.
Produced for Sony Computer Entertainment America
Cancer Treatment Centers of America develops patient-specific vaccine therapy
Medical experts say more than 15-thousand women will die this year from ovarian cancer. But there is hope for those stricken with the disease in the form of a promising new vaccine.
The breakthrough treatment, created by Cancer Treatment Centers of America and AVAX Therapeutics, Inc., uses the patient’s own tumor tissues to create a patient-specific vaccine. Combined with local chemotherapy, the treatment avoids stressing the patient’s immune system and, therefore, helps to increase the vaccine’s effectiveness.
Ovarian cancer is a complex disease – it’s difficult to diagnose and often resistant to chemotherapy. The treatment will be available to women whose cancer has recurred after chemotherapy. Cancer Treatment Centers of America expects to begin treating patients this summer.
A video report by Cancer Treatment Centers of America
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Every four minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with colorectal cancer. 55,000 people die from the disease each year and 150,000 people are newly diagnosed. Waging the battle against this disease requires educational and support tools to help patients and their families cope, allowing them to successfully continue their daily activities.
To help raise public awareness about the resources available to patients and discuss the importance of early detection, the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) and the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) are teaming up to share information about living with colorectal cancer. They are designed to address some of the fundamental questions associated with living with this disease; choosing a health care team, knowing what questions to ask, obtaining financial and other resources for treatment and learning how to take control of your situation.
One imperative recommendation is that anyone over the age of 50 should get a colonoscopy especially if there is a family history of colorectal cancer. More than nine in 10 new cases are found in people 50 years or older. If detected in its early stages, colorectal cancer is more than 90 percent curable. For more information, visit ccalliance****.
Produced for Amgen, Inc.
Public Urged to Attend Free Screenings on Friday, April 20
The Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation YBF urges Americans to get screened for cancer during the 2007 Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week OHANCAW, April 16-22. The week is highlighted by a nationwide day of free screenings at more than 150 medical centers on Friday, April 20. For more information and to find a screening site near you log onto www.headandneck****. According to the American Cancer Society, this year more than 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck which include cancers of the oral cavity, larynx and pharynx and 7,550 will die.
When diagnosed very early, oral and other head and neck cancers can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival greatly increase, said Terry Day, M.D., President of the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation YBF, Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, and Director, Division of Head & Neck Oncologic Surgery, Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina. However, many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of these cancers, which makes screening very important, especially for those who are at high risk, such as tobacco and alcohol users.
According to Dr. Day, there has recently been an increasing incidence of some of these cancers in young adults who do not smoke and some researchers have revealed an association with human papillomavirus HPV.
Oral, head and neck cancer OHNC refers to a variety of cancers that develop in the head and neck region, such as the oral cavity mouth; the pharynx throat; paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity; the larynx voice box; thyroid and salivary glands; the skin of the face and neck; and the lymph nodes in the neck. Common warning signs of OHNC are:
Red or white patch in the mouth that lasts more than two weeks
Change in voice or hoarseness that lasts more than two weeks
Sore throat that does not subside
Pain or swelling in the mouth or neck that does not subside
Lump in the neck
Other warning signs that occur during later stages of the disease include:
Difficulty speaking or swallowing
The most effective prevention strategy remains the cessation of risky behaviors such as smoking, use of chewing tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. More than 85 percent of head and neck cancers are related to tobacco use, while others may have a relationship to viral causes such as HPV and Epstein Barr Virus EBV.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Debuts News for the Cure Health Video Segments
This year, nearly 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the United States. In its continuing fight against the disease, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is releasing News for the Cure, a series of educational video segments about breast cancer. These segments will be shown in their entirety during a satellite feed on Tuesday, April 10th, and are a perfect fit as a weekly health segment for daily newscasts, morning shows, feature or other informational programming. Each video features a breast cancer survivors story and commentary from highly regarded medical experts in the field of breast cancer. News for the Cure is available as an entirely pre produced package with host, graphics and music in addition to a split track version easily customized with your stations look and talent.
Can Dr. Sebi really cure or reverse AIDS & Cancer? According to his website, he can! Why don't we know more about him?
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Debuts ews for the Cure Health Video Segments
This year, nearly 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the United States. In its continuing fight against the disease, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is releasing News for the Cure, a series of educational video segments about breast cancer. These segments will be shown in their entirety during a satellite feed on Tuesday, April 10th, and are a perfect fit as a weekly health segment for daily newscasts, morning shows, feature or other informational programming. Each video features a breast cancer survivors story and commentary from highly regarded medical experts in the field of breast cancer. News for the Cure is available as an entirely pre produced package with host, graphics and music in addition to a split track version easily customized with your station's look and talent.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Debuts News for the Cure Health Video Segments
This year, nearly 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the United States. In its continuing fight against the disease, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is releasing News for the Cure, a series of educational video segments about breast cancer. These segments will be shown in their entirety during a satellite feed on Tuesday, April 10th, and are a perfect fit as a weekly health segment for daily newscasts, morning shows, feature or other informational programming. Each video features a breast cancer survivor's story and commentary from highly regarded medical experts in the field of breast cancer. News for the Cure is available as an entirely pre-produced package with host, graphics and music in addition to a split track version easily customized with your stations look and talent.