Radiation in Medicine
There are countless areas where the power of radiation and nuclear techniques has been harnessed for the benefit of mankind, not only in medicine, but also in industry, agriculture and other fields of science and technology. The benefits to patients in terms of lives saved through improved medical diagnosis and treatment techniques are countless and the well-trained and controlled use of radiation has become a key part of modern medical treatment, especially for certain forms of cancer.
Today, medical imaging helps to detect and diagnose disease in its earliest stages. It enables physicians to determine the most appropriate and effective care where, previously, exploratory surgery was necessary to discover the cause of symptoms or the nature of a disease.
From replacing exploratory cardiac catheterization with a CT scan to discovering a polyp before it becomes cancerous or receiving radiotherapy that allows the patient to lead a relatively normal life without surgery, peer-reviewed research shows that these medical techniques not only improve health outcomes and save lives, but also may help reduce health care costs and drive down spending.
Although radiation carries risk as well as providing beneficial effects, it’s overall contribution is positive and, from a medical point of view, less harmful than exploratory surgery.