Understanding Radiation - A double edged sword

Radiation is a double edged sword: in the wrong place it's very damaging, yet we use it in medicine all the time.

We often hear about radiation, and usually we hear about it when it's hurt someone.   Radiation is a double edged sword; although it certainly can hurt people, radiation is also a key component in medical imaging and is used to cure more cancer patients than any of the current drugs.

On this page we will explore both and harmful and beneficial aspects of radiation.









The ancient symbol of medicine.











Radiation is used in X-rays scans, nuclear medicine (e.g. PET or SPECT) and radio-therapy.

This very old X-ray shows the bones of the hand ... and a pair of rings.
A combined image - CT + PET.
Radiation is used in cancer therapy.












The international radiation hazard symbol.










On the other hand it cannot be denied that radiation can be harmful and needs to be treated with respect.  Marie Curie died of cancer almost certainly caused by her handling of radium; survivors of the Hiroshima bombs died of radiation damage, and even sunlight can burn.

Marie Currie died of cancer.
The residents of Hiroshima suffered radiation burns.
Sunburn is damage caused by radiation (UV).










Follow the link to find out how radiation can both kill and cure.