Symptoms Of Radiation Sickness
The most common early symptoms of radiation sickness are the same as for many other illnesses — nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. They can start within minutes of exposure, but they may come and go for several days. If you have these symptoms after a radiation emergency, you should seek medical help as soon as it’s safe to do so.
You might also have skin damage, like a bad sunburn, or get blisters or sores. Radiation may also damage the cells that make hair, causing your hair to fall out. In some cases, hair loss might be permanent.
The symptoms can go away entirely for anywhere from a few hours to weeks. But if they come back, they’re often worse.
How Many Rads Of Radiation Is Lethal
High radiation doses ) can be potentially life-threatening, although the risk of acute death from radiation can be mitigated through prompt medical treatment. Without proper medical assistance 50% of people with radiation doses of ~400 rem or higher will most likely die in 60 days.
What happens to the body when exposed to nuclear radiation?
Ionizing radiationthe kind that minerals, atom bombs and nuclear reactors emitdoes one main thing to the human body: it weakens and breaks up DNA, either damaging cells enough to kill them or causing them to mutate in ways that may eventually lead to cancer.
What Kind Of Radiation Are Humans Exposed To In Space
Soft x-ray image of a solar flare on the Sun. Solar flares give off harmful solar particles that make up one type of space radiation.
There are three kinds of space radiation:
- Galactic cosmic rays originating outside the solar system
- Solar particles emitted by the sun during solar flares
- Radiation trapped by the Earth’s magnetic field.
On the surface of the Earth, these types of radiation are not significant health hazards because the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field protect us from most of the radiation from space. Astronauts in low Earth orbit still receive some protection from the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field, but radiation becomes a much bigger problem when they travel to places outside these protective barriers, like the moon or mars.
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Happens To The Human Body When Exposed To Extreme Radiation
Whether you are a nuclear scientist or a curious layperson, the question youre probably wondering is what happens to the human body when exposed to high doses of radiation. The answer is complicated, but the main issue is the amount of radiation absorbed by the cells. The more energy is absorbed, the greater the biological damage. Health physicists refer to this absorbed dose as a radium, which is measured in rads , and the number is multiplied by a number reflecting the degree of damage. X-rays and beta rays each have a single rad.
Exposure to radiation from a nuclear reactor or a space-based weapon system is a serious health risk. Even a small dose of radiation can have catastrophic effects on the human body. In a single exposure, a dose of one thousand rads can kill a person within a few days. However, a large area of the body can be exposed to far higher doses with minimal risk. This type of exposure can also damage cellular DNA and cause chromosome aberrations. The effects of radiation can be temporary or permanent.
Radiation can also affect the bodys immune system. In certain cases, radiation can lead to a rare condition known as hematopoietic syndrome, which can develop within one to six hours of exposure. It causes the death of white blood cells, which impedes the immune system and predisposes victims to infections. In addition, the kidneys, lungs, and liver can also be affected by radiation.
Does Radiation Therapy Affect Pregnancy Or Fertility
Females: Its important not to become pregnant while getting radiation it can harm the growing baby. If theres a chance you might become pregnant, be sure to talk to your doctor about birth control options.
If you are or might be pregnant, let your doctor know right away.
If the area getting radiation in your body includes the ovaries, it is possible that the dose of radiation can cause the ovaries to no longer work , and that you would be unable to have children. it is important to know the risk of this possibility in advance of receiving radiation therapy. If you are thinking about radiation therapy that will affect the ovaries, talk to your doctor about how this might affect having children in the future.
Males: Not much is known about radiations effect on the children conceived by men while getting radiation therapy. Because of this, doctors often advise men to not get a woman pregnant during and for some weeks after treatment. Talk to your doctor to find out more about this.
Learn more in How Cancer and Cancer Treatment Can Affect Fertility.
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Treatment By Stage Of Prostate Cancer
Different treatments may be recommended for each stage of prostate cancer. Your doctor will recommend a specific treatment plan for you based on the cancers stage and other factors. Detailed descriptions of each type of treatment are provided earlier on this same page. Clinical trials may also be a treatment option for each stage.
Early-stage prostate cancer
Early-stage prostate cancer usually grows very slowly and may take years to cause any symptoms or other health problems, if it ever does at all. As a result, active surveillance or watchful waiting may be recommended. Radiation therapy or surgery may also be suggested, as well as treatment in clinical trials. For those with a higher Gleason score, the cancer may be faster growing, so radical prostatectomy and radiation therapy are often recommended. Your doctor will consider your age and general health before recommending a treatment plan.
ASCO, the American Urological Association, American Society of Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Urologic Oncology recommend that patients with high-risk early-stage prostate cancer that has not spread to other areas of the body should receive radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy with hormonal therapy as standard treatment options.
Locally advanced prostate cancer
Watchful waiting may be considered for older adults who are not expected to live for a long time and whose cancer is not causing symptoms or for those who have another, more serious illness.
How Does Radiation Kill
In a lab setting, radiation kills by altering DNA molecules. This means that damaged cells cannot replicate. While cancer cells will die in the immediate aftermath, less severely affected cells will continue to perform normal cell processes. When this happens, cancerous cells may form. But this is rare. Most cases of radiation poisoning are not fatal. The immediate symptoms of radiation sickness are often mild. You can survive a dose of one gram of ionized radiation for several days.
A single hundred-rem dose can kill a human in a minute. However, the effects of radiation are often delayed or undetected. A persons cancer may come back, or may even become more aggressive. While the bodys immune system is not affected by radiation, it can be destroyed by exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation. This is because ionizing radiation breaks up DNA, and DNA damage is one of the most common causes of death in people exposed to high doses of ionizing radiation.
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How Can Ionizing Radiation Cause Cancer
Large doses of radiation to large numbers of people are needed in order tocause measurable increases in the number of cancers and thus determine thedifferences in the sensitivity of different organs to radiation. Because thecancers can occur anytime in the exposed person’s lifetime, these studies cantake seventy years or more to complete. For example, the largest andscientifically most valuable epidemiologic study of radiation effects has beenthe ongoing study of the Japanese atomic bomb survivors. Other importantstudies include studies of large groups exposed to radiation as a consequenceof their occupation or as a consequence of medicaltreatment. These types of studies are discussed in greater detail in thesection titled “How Do Scientists Determine the Long-Term Risks fromRadiation?”
Are There Options To Prevent Or Treat Side Effects Caused By Radiation Therapy
Yes. Your health care team can help you prevent or relieve many side effects. Preventing and treating side effects is an important part of your overall cancer treatment. This is called palliative care or supportive care.
Before treatment begins, ask what side effects are likely from the specific type of treatment you are receiving and when they may happen. During and after treatment, let your health care team know how you are feeling on a regular basis. This includes if you are experiencing a new side effect, or a problem persists or has gotten worse.
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Neoplastic Transformation In Vitro
An important cellular effect of radiation is neoplastic transformation, or the conversion of a normal cell to one with the phenotype of a cancer cell, including the ability to form an invasive, malignant tumor upon re-injection into syngeneic hosts. Most human cancers have been shown to be clonal in origin. That is, all of the cells within a tumor are descendants of a single cell that has undergone the process of neoplastic transformation. The transformation of one or more normal cells in a tissue in vivo is presumed to represent the earliest step in the overall process of carcinogenesis. Whether or not such a transformed cell can successfully give rise to an invasive, malignant tumor depends upon a number of tissue and systemic factors. Although a number of different in vitro transformation systems involving various species and cell types are under investigation, those that generate reliable quantitative data have been restricted to rodent cells, and in none of these is the entire process of malignant transformation measured. Rather, surrogate features of transformation are assayed such as changes in colony morphology, focus formation, or growth under anchorage-independent conditions.
How Does Nuclear Radiation Affect The Body
The latest weather forecast reports that the winds over the nuclear power plant in Japan have switched directions, and instead of blowing radioactive particles out to sea, the nuclear plume is drifting over Japan. Which is tragic, really. Given that there’s over 5,000 miles of ocean between Japan and the United States for radioactive materials to disperse, I’d rather take the fallout this way than see Japan further under siege.
But winds are fickle, and the battle to contain the nuclear crisis at the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant still rages.
You already know how I feel about stockpiling iodide pills: DON’T. And I gave you the 11 reasons why US left coasters shouldn’t freak out about radiation in Japan. But I have yet to put on my white coat and fill you in on what you should know about nuclear radiation and how it affects our bodies.
So here goes. Are you listening there in the back? Now keep in mind that I nearly had a mental meltdown trying to keep my grades up in my pre-med physics classes. So this is not your friendly neighborhood nuclear physicist’s lecture. We’ll keep this real simple.
Radiation 101: The Facts, Just The Facts, Ma’am
So What Happens?
When cells and what lies within them get exposed to radiation, components of DNA and critical proteins within the cell get all jazzed up , meaning that the electrons with our atoms get kicked out, causing the DNA strands to break and the proteins to cramp up .
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Can I Avoid Or Limit My Exposure To Rf Radiation
Because sources of RF radiation are so common in the modern world, there is no way to completely avoid exposure to it. There are some ways you can lower your exposure to RF radiation, such as:
- Avoiding jobs with increased RF exposure
- Limiting the time you spend near appliances, equipment, and other devices that give off RF radiation
- Limiting the time you spend with a cell phone placed against your ear
Still, it isnt clear that doing these things will be helpful in terms of health risks.
What Do Expert Agencies Say
The American Cancer Society does not have an official position or statement on whether or not radiofrequency radiation from cell phones, cell phones towers, or other sources is a cause of cancer. ACS generally looks to other expert organizations to determine if something causes cancer , including:
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer , which is part of the World Health Organization
- The US National Toxicology Program , which is an interagency program of the National Institutes of Health , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , and the Food and Drug Administration
Other major organizations might also comment on the ability of certain exposures to cause cancer.
Based on a review of studies published up until 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified RF radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans, based on limited evidence of a possible increase in risk for brain tumors among cell phone users, and inadequate evidence for other types of cancer.
In 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a technical report based on results of studies published between 2008 and 2018, as well as national trends in cancer rates. The report concluded: Based on the studies that are described in detail in this report, there is insufficient evidence to support a causal association between radiofrequency radiation exposure and .
According to the US Federal Communications Commission :
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Can You Get Another Prostate Cancer
Unfortunately, being treated for prostate cancer doesnt mean you cant get another cancer. Men who have had prostate cancer can still get the same types of cancers that other men get. In fact, they might be at higher risk for certain types of cancer. Men who have had prostate cancer can get any type of second cancer,
What Is Acute Radiation Sickness
ARS is a response to a high dose of ionizing radiation. Exposure can be acute or chronic, and can be accidental or even intentional for disease treatment. The symptoms of ARS include confusion, intractable nausea, loss of consciousness, and tremors. The patient will go into a coma within an hour after the radiation exposure.
When an individual is exposed to higher doses of radiation, he or she may experience gastrointestinal syndrome and aplastic anemia. The GI tract and bone marrow are permanently damaged and a full recovery is unlikely. The body is unable to respond to the treatment, causing the patient to die within two weeks. If the exposure is too high, the patient will experience partial functionality and convulsions.
Despite the lack of concrete evidence that irradiation causes immediate death, acute radiation sickness can lead to permanent side effects. The main symptom of this disease is anemia. This type of disease is accompanied by an increased risk of bleeding and infection. Some patients die within a few hours of exposure. There are no proven ways to predict whether or not a person will succumb to radiation sickness.
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The Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer
There are a few side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, like diarrhea and passing urine regularly.
These side effects often occur after one or two weeks of starting RT. The symptoms can worsen during treatment and after the treatment ends. But you can feel relief after two weeks of treatment.
The side effects that occur in one person may not come in another person. They can vary from person to person. The possible side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer are as follows:
How Long Do Side Effects Last
Remember that the type of radiation side effects you might have depends on the prescribed dose and schedule. Most side effects go away within a few months of ending treatment. Some side effects may continue after treatment ends because it takes time for the healthy cells to recover from radiation.
Side effects might limit your ability to do some things. What you can do will depend on how you feel. Some patients are able to go to work or enjoy leisure activities while they get radiation therapy. Others find they need more rest than usual and cant do as much. If you have side effects that are bothersome and affecting your daily activities or health, the doctor may stop your treatments for a while, change the schedule, or change the type of treatment youre getting. Tell your cancer care team about any side affects you notice so they can help you with them.
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Who Gives Radiation Therapy Treatments
During your radiation therapy, a team of highly trained medical professionals will care for you. Your team may include these people:
- Radiation oncologist: This doctor is specially trained to treat cancer with radiation. This person oversees your radiation treatment plan.
- Radiation physicist: This is the person who makes sure the radiation equipment is working as it should and that it gives you the exact dose prescribed by your radiation oncologist.
- Dosimetrist: This person helps the radiation oncologist plan the treatment.
- Radiation therapist or radiation therapy technologist: This person operates the radiation equipment and positions you for each treatment.
- Radiation therapy nurse: This nurse has special training in cancer treatment and can give you information about radiation treatment and managing side effects.
You may also need the services of a dietitian, physical therapist, social worker, dentist or dental oncologist, pharmacist, or other health care providers.
If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Head Or Neck
People who get radiation to the head and neck might have side effects such as:
- Soreness in the mouth or throat
How to care for your mouth during treatment
If you get radiation therapy to the head or neck, you need to take good care of your teeth, gums, mouth, and throat. Here are some tips that may help you manage mouth problems:
- Avoid spicy and rough foods, such as raw vegetables, dry crackers, and nuts.
- Dont eat or drink very hot or very cold foods or beverages.
- Dont smoke, chew tobacco, or drink alcohol these can make mouth sores worse.
- Stay away from sugary snacks.
- Ask your cancer care team to recommend a good mouthwash. The alcohol in some mouthwashes can dry and irritate mouth tissues.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt and soda water every 1 to 2 hours as needed.
- Sip cool drinks often throughout the day.
- Eat sugar-free candy or chew gum to help keep your mouth moist.
- Moisten food with gravies and sauces to make it easier to eat.
- Ask your cancer care team about medicines to help treat mouth sores and control pain while eating.
If these measures are not enough, ask your cancer care team for advice. Mouth dryness may be a problem even after treatment is over. If so, talk to your team about what you can do.
How to care for your teeth during treatment
Radiation treatment to your head and neck can increase your chances of getting cavities. This is especially true if you have dry mouth as a result of treatment.
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