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Safety Procedures Followed When Using Alpha, Beta And Gamma Radiation And X- Rays

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Question: Explain the safety procedures followed when using alpha, beta and gamma radiation and X- rays.   Answer: The safety procedures that can be considered when using X-rays, gamma, beta, and alpha radiation include Reduction of the exposure time: The external hazards of radiation can be minimized through the reduction of radionuclide handling, proper planning, and dry runs (Remenec, Dulanská and Mátel 2014). Increasing the distance: The distance between the radiation source and the operator or the patient can be reduced by using tools that have long handles in cases where there is intense radiation penetration. In addition, clamps and stands should be used for holding the radioactive radiations. Shielding: The rate of exposure to radiations can be reduced by shielding the source of the radiation. This can be achieved by scattering the radiation and keeping away from the edges of the shield. Additionally, for gamma emitters can be shielded using lead of appropriate thickness.   Barium meal is a type of test conducted using a tube that runs from the mouth to the stomach to show the oesophagus. The organs that can be examined using barium meal include The duodenum The stomach The oesophagus In the case of the stomach, oesophagus, and duodenum, the barium meal is used because these organs have soft tissue structures that cannot be captured by using the ordinary X-ray. The barium meal is used for coating the inner lining of the three organs so that the radiologist has a clear view of them to monitor their functionality.  In the case of the stomach, the radiologist gives the patient the barium meal mixed with water. The radiologist then takes the images of the stomach using the X-ray while the patient is lying down or standing. The X-rays images generated are projected on the TV monitor by the radiologist. Additionally, the patient is given any drug that produces effervescence to ensure that the stomach lining is clearly seen. The diagram below shows the image of the stomach using barium meal. Gamma rays can be used for imaging using a gamma camera technique that is capable of conducting a functional scan of the skeleton, kidneys, gallbladder, liver, lungs, thyroid, and brain (Iop.org, 2016). The gamma camera is capable of imaging the radiation by introducing a tracer such as technetium-99 into the body of the patient. The tracer has prolonged the half-life of 6 hours and is capable of mixing with several molecules with the aim of targeting the various body systems. As the tracer traverses the body, it emits radiation, and its movement is traced using a crystal capable of scintillating as it responds to the gamma rays. The radiation oncologist uses brachytherapy to treat and manage cancerous growths using ionizing radiation energy that can shrink or kill any cancerous tumour or malignant growth. The internal radiation therapy, also called brachytherapy, enables the radiation oncologist to employ radiation at a high total dose to kill the tumour or growth within a smaller area and within a shorter time as opposed to the external beam radiation therapy. The advantage of the internal radiation therapy is that it can be used to treat any cancerous growth throughout the body such as the skin, cervix, prostate, and breast among others.   There are two methods of conducting the internal radiation therapy. The first method is called temporary brachytherapy whereby, a significantly radioactive material such as palladium, phosphorous, iodine, iridium, cesium, and radium is placed a slender tube or catheter in an area with cancerous growth within a specified period. The radioactive materials are dispensed at a high-dose rate (HDR) or low-dose-rate (LDR) (Rajekar, Bogammana and Stubbs 2011). The second method is called seed implantation or permanent brachytherapy. Under this method, radioactive pellets or seeds are permanently placed in or within the proximity to the cancerous growth. After some time, the level of radioactivity of the pellets or seeds diminishes and eventually stops. The seeds eventually become inactive and do not cause any harm to the body where they are. The only challenge is that the metal detectors at the security checkpoints can detect the pellets or seeds.   Generation of technetium-99 Technetium-99 can be generated in a technetium generator by the disintegration of molybdenum-99 since it has a high affinity for alumina (aluminium oxide) as opposed to technetium does not. The figure below shows a technetium generator. The alumina/molybdenum capsule are injected with a saline solution through an elution process. Any technetium-99m produced is then drawn out. The capsule is put in the middle of the generator surrounded by a shielding material. The figure below shows the radioactivity of molybdenum-99 to form technetium-99. Uses of Technetium-99 The metastable isotope is used for the diagnosis of organs such as lungs, heart, kidney, and bones by scanning. It is also used in gamma imaging due to its emissio
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