Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Radiation in the news

As a human that received 6600 Gray in 2006 to kill off any remaining cancer cells left over after they removed my left parotid, and as a human that was told in 1986 that the Chernobyl cloud had indeed passed over the area of Germany that I lived in (we kind of figured it, when we saw the farmers plowing under their crops and slaughtering their livestock), and as an adult that grew up on this planet before the nuclear test ban treaty, I figure I am well acquainted with extra doses of radiation in some form or another. Contamination on the scale that is faced in places that have had accidents or incidents is what came to my mind when the surgeon told me that I would need radiotherapy as an effort to keep the cancer from coming back in my face. I was always grateful for the physicists' skills in programming the IMRT machine to make sure the beams of radiation met their mark and missed as much of my good parts as possible. I am even more grateful after I saw a story today about the 1987 incident in Goiania, Brazil - http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2011/03/28/contamination-in-goiania/. The article discusses the danger of radiation amounts under 4 Gray, and I received 6600 Gray in a very localized area. Just boggles the (probably radiated) mind, that's all. And explains why long-term follow-up after radiotherapy is recommended. (Still waiting for that super hero power, though.)
If you have questions about radiation exposure and how it fits into your life, please contact your local library for more information. Here are some other sites of info that might be of interest:

Radiation Emergencies - MedlinePlus http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/radiationemergencies.html

Radiation doses in perspective - EPA http://www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/perspective.html

International Atomic Energy Agency http://www-pub.iaea.org/mtcd/publications/publications.asp

1 comment:

newtothis said...

Yikes. I can't imagine seeing what you did in Germany. I also never thought about how many "Grays (?)" I received with 50blasts. No wonder I've never been the same.

S

 
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