Does radioactive dating work for gases

Beams of radiation both enter and exit the body through healthy tissue, and tiny movements by the patient and even breathing can put the tumour slightly off target, leading to side effects from damaged healthy tissue.This is a particular issue for children and young people, whose delicate and growing bodies are particularly susceptible to these off-target effects.Radiotherapy works by aiming a high dose of radiation towards a person’s tumour, which damages cells’ fragile DNA – the code of instructions that cells need to survive and do their job. The radiation can directly damage the DNA by causing breaks along the strands of genetic material, and it can also trigger the formation of very reactive molecules that themselves can be damaging.Unable to cope with this assault to their lifeline, ultimately the cancer cells die.It’s been used in cancer medicine for more than a century, but radiotherapy is far from old-fashioned.Thanks to decades of research to refine, improve and innovate the treatment, it’s become an incredibly sophisticated and precise technique that cures more people than cancer drugs.The radioactive iodine is given as a drink or in a pill and is then taken up by the thyroid cancer cells, but not healthy cells, and hence has few side effects.This is known as radioactive liquid therapy and is one of two main types of internal radiotherapy.

You’ll hear more about these techniques in the posts that follow in this series.The other, called brachytherapy, involves placing a radioactive implant next to the tumour, such as tiny metal pellets or wires.Although internal radiotherapy works well for certain cancers, external radiotherapy is the most common type used.Rather than relying on a degree of guesswork like in the very early days of radiotherapy, today doctors take very detailed images of patients’ tumours and their surroundings using techniques like CT or MRI scans.This helps doctors plan the treatment very precisely in 3D, so the tumour bears the brunt of the blow while its neighbouring healthy tissues are spared as much as possible.

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