08-03-2003, 09:12 AM
I am a fourth-year med student interested in RadOnc, but a little phobic about radiation exposure. Everything else about the field is tremendously appealing to me. Can anyone describe what types of exposure/occupational risks exist for the typical radiation oncologist? Thanks.
08-04-2003, 10:58 AM
next to nil if you use proper precautions. A heck of a lot safer than the risk of needle sticks for instance.
08-04-2003, 02:10 PM
Thanks for the info. What about brachytherapy etc? For instance, do you have to load the radioisotopes in wet form into beads/rods, or are they prepackaged?
I had previously done research in a basic science laboratory, and the handling of radioactive materials was a lot "sloppier" than I would expect.
08-05-2003, 03:41 AM
residents are scutted to a lot of things, but packing radioactive sources isn't one of them!
08-05-2003, 12:42 PM
Most contemporary brachytherapy procedures are performed with remote afterloaders- meaning you can introduce the radioactive seeds with a remote control from a well protected place.
Some procedures may require you to be present during delivery of the radioactive material, like CBT (coronary brachytherapy), but the radiation drops off very quickly, you usually are wearing a pretty thick lead suit, and the exposure time is pretty brief.
Most of the other times, you got other people doing the risky jobs: techs, therapists, nurses, so they incur the risk. It's good to be on the top of the food chain!
08-05-2003, 03:54 PM
I know all the Rad Onc staff wear radiation badges to measure radiation exposure over the year to make sure they are not getting too much. Just how big a dose of radiation does a resident get in a year? Do you find out the actual dose you received based on your badge? Thanks.
08-06-2003, 03:46 AM
they do tell us the dose; its minimal, measured in sieverts. They tell you body dose and dose to specific organs (lens, hands). With the excpetion of hands (when I put in sources) I probably get more total body exposure taking a transatlantic flight.
08-07-2003, 03:47 PM
I'm not sure if you know this off the top of your head, but what dose in Sieverts do you accumulate over a year? I know its minimal and inconsequential but I am curious. I seem to remember that background radiation that everyone on planet earth is exposed to per year is about 2 milliSieverts, and the max dose allowed by the government for workers is 50 milliSieverts. Do these numbers sound right and what dose does a rad onc resident get? thanks
By the way, the orthopods, interventional radiologists, and interventional cardiologists accumulate much more radiation dose than Rad Oncs because of all the fluoroscopy they do.
08-08-2003, 02:14 AM
Ill look to see how much I got ove rthe last 3 years. but youre right, the other guys get way more exposure unless youre doing mostly brachy