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Applied Physics Of External Radiation Exposure:... UPDATED


Internal radiation therapy with a solid source is called brachytherapy. In this type of treatment, seeds, ribbons, or capsules that contain a radiation source are placed in your body, in or near the tumor. Like external beam radiation therapy, brachytherapy is a local treatment and treats only a specific part of your body.




Applied Physics of External Radiation Exposure:...



The Bachelor of Science (BS) with an area of study in Radiation Protection/Health Physics program is designed to prepare learners for a career as radiation protection/health physics professional. The program content will include but not limited to fundamentals of radiation protection/health physics, personnel dosimetry, shielding/activation, measurement, instrumentation, biological effects of radiation, and plus related prerequisite elements. A total of 18 Area of Study credits must be from 300/400 level courses.


Many industries, medical facilities, defense plants, and research laboratories demand professionals who understand radiation hazards and their prevention and control. Prominent among scientists is the health physicist, who controls the beneficial use of radiation while protecting workers and the public from potential hazards. The health physics profession is diverse and one of the most interesting and rewarding fields of scientific endeavor.Download a brochure on health physics and View a Career Video


In 1942, a group of physicists working with the first nuclear reactor became concerned with the health of project workers and the general public. As a result, they took on the responsibilities of coping with radiation hazards never before encountered. These physicists were called health physicists, and the profession known as health physics came into existence.


Health physics, also referred to as the science of radiation protection, is the profession devoted to protecting people and their environment from potential radiation hazards, while making it possible to enjoy the beneficial uses of radiation.


Industrial or applied health physicists draw upon their technical knowledge and varied experience to advise and make recommendations to management regarding methods and equipment for use in radiation work. The health physicist also assists engineers and scientists in designing facilities and new radiation control programs. As the primary consultant during any radiation emergency, a health physicist commonly has total control of the involved area.


The daily work of a health physicist may involve reviewing all radiological monitoring data for as many as 2,000 permanent site employees. Area radiological surveys, radiation records, and internal and external dosimetry information must be reviewed. In addition, survey and laboratory results are analyzed to ensure the reactor is operating within prescribed limits.


The medical health physicist contributes professionally by teaching courses in radiation physics and biology and by reviewing research projects involving radiation work of various scientific disciplines. Through personal supervision of radiation installations in hospitals and clinics, the health physicist seeks to obtain the maximum benefits with minimum risks of radiation exposure.


Educational requirements for medical physicists range from an associate's degree to a PhD in health physics or a closely related field. Individuals working in a medical radiation safety office may need an associate's or baccalaureate degree. The RSO for such a facility most likely has a master's degree or PhD. Special course work also may be required, depending on the individual's job responsibilities. Read about careers in the medical field.


Natural radioactivity can sometimes become hazardous to workers and the public. Concentrations of radium scales in the petrochemical and phosphate (fertilizer) industries are examples. Some groundwater sources contain high levels of radon and radium, which require protection of the public from higher radiation exposures. And radon, of course, is the most well-publicized of the natural radioactive hazards. Radon in homes has created work in the areas of instrumentation, testing protocols, analysis, radioepidemiology, mitigation, preconstruction evaluations, and regulation/guideline development. Read about careers in environmental health physics.


Academic programs in health physics, leading to baccalaureate and advanced degrees, are now offered in many American universities. These comprehensive programs will allow you to specialize in areas such as nuclear engineering, physics, biophysics, medical physics, or radiation biology.


Radiation dosimetry in the fields of health physics and radiation protection is the measurement, calculation and assessment of the ionizing radiation dose absorbed by an object, usually the human body. This applies both internally, due to ingested or inhaled radioactive substances, or externally due to irradiation by sources of radiation.


Internal dosimetry assessment relies on a variety of monitoring, bio-assay or radiation imaging techniques, whilst external dosimetry is based on measurements with a dosimeter, or inferred from measurements made by other radiological protection instruments.


Dosimetry is used extensively for radiation protection and is routinely applied to monitor occupational radiation workers, where irradiation is expected, or where radiation is unexpected, such as in the aftermath of the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima radiological release incidents. The public dose take-up is measured and calculated from a variety of indicators such as ambient measurements of gamma radiation, radioactive particulate monitoring, and the measurement of levels of radioactive contamination.


There are several ways of measuring absorbed doses from ionizing radiation. People in occupational contact with radioactive substances, or who may be exposed to radiation, routinely carry personal dosimeters. These are specifically designed to record and indicate the dose received. Traditionally, these were lockets fastened to the external clothing of the monitored person, which contained photographic film known as film badge dosimeters. These have been largely replaced with other devices such as the TLD badge which uses Thermoluminescent dosimetry or optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) badges.


External beam therapy (EBT), also called external radiation therapy, is a method for delivering a beam or several beams of high-energy x-rays to a patient's tumor. Beams are generated outside the patient (usually by a linear accelerator, see below) and are targeted at the tumor site. These high energy x-rays can deposit their dose to the area of the tumor to destroy the cancer cells and, with careful treatment planning, spare the surrounding normal tissues. No radioactive sources are placed inside the patient's body.


Delivery of external beam therapy requires a treatment team, including a radiationoncologist, medical physicist, dosimetrist and radiation therapist. The radiation oncologist is a physician who evaluates the patient and determines the appropriate therapy or combination of therapies. He or she determines what area to treat and what dose to deliver. Together with the medical physicist and the dosimetrist, the radiation oncologist determines what techniques to use to deliver the prescribed dose. The physicist and the dosimetrist then make detailed treatment calculations and quality assurance checks prior to treatment delivery. The radiation therapists are specially trained technologists who deliver the daily treatments.


Radiation oncologists use linear accelerators or cobalt machines to deliver external beam therapy. Your radiation oncologist will determine the equipment most suited to your treatment. The linear accelerator is the most commonly used device for external beam therapy. 041b061a72


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