What is Radiation?

Radiation is among the most extensively used treatments for cancer nowadays. Other names by which radiation is commonly known are, x-ray, clinical radiotherapy, chest x-ray, gamma-ray, clinical imaging, tomography and nuclear medicine. A type of radiotherapy that is used in the treatment of cancer is chest radiotherapy. This type of radiotherapy is used to treat the problem areas in the chest that are affected by the cancer.

As a matter of fact, there are numerous health problems that can be prevented through proper use of radiation therapy. These include; breast cancer, cervical cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, head cancer, bone cancer and stomach cancer. The treatment can also be used to prevent the recurrence of cancer, as it delays the growth of cancerous cells. In addition, radiation therapy also improves the quality of life of the patient suffering from any of these cancer diseases.

What is Radiation?
What is Radiation?

There are several health effects caused by excessive radiation exposure. The most common ones are; skin irritation, headache, dizziness and skin cancer. In addition, cancer patients who had been exposed to high levels of radiation during their treatment are more likely to develop psychological problems like depression, anxiety and stress. In addition, these patients are more likely to suffer from fatigue and poor concentration. These issues can eventually lead to worse health effects like anxiety and depression again.

The amount of radiation exposed to a person depends on his or her age, weight and height. Thus, children are more likely to receive higher doses of radiation than the adults. Also, those who are smokers are more exposed to harmful radiations than nonsmokers.

There are several factors that affect the amount of external radiation received by a person. The external radiation dose depends on the type of radiation therapy being used. Some forms of external radiation therapy are used for months at a stretch, while others can be used for several weeks. In addition, there are different external radiation therapies and their effects on different body types. The type of external radiation therapy being used should be decided based on the age, weight and height of the patient.

Ionising radiation such as x-rays and gamma-rays are emitted by celestial sources such as the sun or stars. It is a type of non-radioactive radiation. When exposed to ionising radiation, the body stops producing molecules of normal matter called the ‘free radicals’. They start becoming unstable and this causes several health disorders such as cancer, heart disease and aging.

Electron beams or radiation consists of photons, which are particles of light. Pulses of energy, in the form of electrons, are emitted from an electron beam when it hits an atom. The amount of atom that receives the electron beam depends upon the atom’s atomic number, its nature and the frequency of the electron pulse. Radioactivity is the result of the collective nuclear behaviour of atoms. The natural background radiation is also varied amounts of radiation which includes cosmic radiation.

This is because of the unstable atoms, which emit microwave electromagnetic waves. Microwaves have the ability to penetrate all the matter and are thus able to move from one atom to another without any difficulty. Thus the number of unstable atoms is not constant. Radioactivity can be defined as the change in the level of an atomic number due to the action of electromagnetic radiation. The natural background radiation is a combination of electromagnetic and atomic radiation.

Thus the term “radiation” indicates the transfer of energy or motion from one place to another. Electromagnetic waves are invisible, but they exert a strong influence on atoms. They can make a nucleus decay if they pass through at a high enough frequency. These particles waves are produced by natural processes like breakdown of elements, like in Photosynthesis. Additionally nuclear weapons produce electromagnetic radiation.

There are two types of radiation: electromagnetic radiation and ionizing radiation. Electromagnetic radiation is known as visible light, gamma rays, x-rays and pulsed electromagnetic radiation. Ionizing radiation is the opposite of electromagnetic radiation. It cannot be seen, but it does create ions which damage the DNA of living organisms.

In cases where atoms split due to chemical reactions the gamma rays and x-rays are produced. Radioactive elements such as Carbon have several naturally occurring gamma-ray products, which are also called “proton” and” electron” pairs. Radioactive Carbon has been used for over 50 years to determine the production and properties of many elements. Carbon Monoxide is another naturally occurring compound with a wide range of medical uses. It is relatively safe and non-hazardous, but can cause confusion with some standard test instruments.

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