Medical diagnostic procedures used to define and diagnose medical conditions are currently the greatest manmade source of ionizing radiation exposure to the general population. However, even these sources are generally quite limited compared to the general background radiation on Earth.
The risks and benefits of radiation exposure due to medical imaging and other sources must be clearly defined for clinicians and their patients. This article is a general overview for the medical practitioner, who should understand the fundamentals of medical ionizing radiation and the general associated risks. This article also acquaints the practitioner with relative doses of common radiographic procedures as well as natural background radiation.
The use of ionizing radiation in medicine began with the discovery of x-rays by Roentgen in 1895. Ionizing radiation is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum with sufficient energy to pass through matter and physically dislodge orbital electrons to form ions. These ions, in turn, can produce biological changes when introduced into tissue. Ionizing radiation can exist in 2 forms: as an electromagnetic wave, such as an x-ray or gamma ray, or as a particle, in the form of an alpha or beta particle, neutron, or proton. X-rays are machine-generated, whereas gamma rays are electromagnetic waves that are emitted from the nucleus of an unstable atom. Different forms of ionizing radiation have differing abilities to generate biologic damage. The order of ionization effect of these forms can be found in Table 1 below.
A clear understanding of the measurement units of radiation and radioactivity is required to better communicate with colleagues or patients. Different units are used to describe radioactivity by energy (erg), decay activity rate (curie [Ci] or becquerel [Bq]), effect in air (roentgen [R]), ability to be absorbed (radiation-absorbed dose [rad] or gray [Gy]), or biologic effect (roentgen equivalent man [rem] or sievert [Sv]). Se
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The diagnosis of prostate cancer most commonly involves a combination of three tests:
Digital rectal examination DRE As part of a physical examination your doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into your rectum and feels toward the front of your body. The prostate gland is a walnut or larger sized gland immediately in front of the rectum, and beneath your bladder. The back portion of prostate gland can be felt in this manner. Findings on this exam are compared to notes about the patient's prior digital rectal examinations.
The exam is usually brief, and most find it uncomfortable due to the pressure used to adequately examine the prostate gland. Findings such as abnormal size, lumps, or nodules, may indicate prostate cancer.
The national comprehensive cancer network NCCN notes that a DRE should not be used as a stand-alone test for detection of prostate cancer but should be performed in men with an elevated PSA. The NCCN also notes that DRE may be considered as a baseline test in all patients, as it may help identify high-grade cancers associated with a normal PSA.
Prostate specific antigen PSA blood test: The PSA blood test measures the level of a protein found in the blood that is produced by the prostate gland and helps keep semen in liquid form. The PSA test can indicate an increased likelihood of prostate cancer if the PSA is at an increased or elevated level, but it does not provide a definitive diagnosis. Prostate cancer can be found in patients with a low PSA level but this occurs less than 20% of the time.
If the PSA level is elevated levels can depend upon your age, on the size of your prostate gland on examination, certain medications you may be taking, or recent sexual activity, further testing may be needed to rule out prostate cancer.
PSA measurements are often tracked over time to look for evidence of a change. The amount of time it takes for the PSA level to increase is referred to as PSA velocity. The time it takes for the PSA to doubl
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How to convert a portion of an audio or video file to iPhone m4r (Replay Converter video tutorial)
Learn how to convert audio/video files to iPhone m4r ringtones.
Replay Converter is the easiest way to convert video and audio files, especially ones you can download from web sites like YouTube. You simply pick the files to convert, choose an output format, and click a button to start the process. Everything happens automatically.
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