Effects Of Radioactivity On The Human Body – Medical Review of Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP – By Amanda Burrell – Updated July 25, 2023
Radiation dermatitis is a side effect of radiation therapy that people often experience. It can cause redness or discoloration, dryness or peeling of the skin.
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This article will explore radiation dermatitis, including what causes it and how people can relieve symptoms at home.
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Radiation dermatitis is a common side effect of radiation therapy, the most commonly used treatment for cancer.
Radiation dermatitis can vary in severity. Some people experience mild redness and itching, while others may experience painful, broken skin that is prone to infection.
The effects of radiation dermatitis usually appear within days or weeks of starting radiation therapy, depending on the amount of radiation and the sensitivity of the individual’s skin.
Sometimes these effects can develop weeks or even years after the end of radiation therapy. This is called radiation memory.
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In severe cases, the symptoms can restrict the movement of the affected limb, which can interfere with daily activities. People in sensitive areas may find it difficult to dress.
Radiation therapy is when doctors use high-energy waves like X-rays or gamma rays to destroy or damage cancer cells. These rays create small breaks in the DNA inside cells, preventing them from growing and dividing.
During the treatment, doctors also exposed essentially normal cells near the cancer cells to radiation. This includes the skin cells and the damage caused by radiation dermatitis.
In most cases, the cells will recover and return to normal when the course of radiation therapy is over.
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The type of radiation a person has, as well as how and where doctors deliver it in the body, can also make a difference.
Radiation dermatitis is more likely to be due to radiation near the head, neck, chest, chest wall, vulva, or anus.
If the skin is dry, it may be red, rough and scaly or cracked or bloody. In this regard,
It is important that people resist the urge to scratch their itchy skin as this can lead to sores and scarring. Soothe itching by wrapping a bag of crushed ice in a damp cloth and holding it to the itchy skin.
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Although people can take care of mild skin irritation at home, it’s important to talk to their cancer care team if they experience any of the following:
If there are hives with skin irritations, which are white or red itching on the skin, difficulty in breathing or swelling of the neck or face, it may be an allergic reaction. This reaction requires emergency medical attention.
Radiation dermatitis is a common side effect of radiation therapy, which damages skin cells as they fight cancer cells. Symptoms include redness, peeling of the skin and ulcers. It usually starts to get better after the treatment is over. In some cases, it can occur years after the end of radiation therapy.
People can treat radiation dermatitis symptoms at home with a soothing skin care routine. Health teams may also prescribe creams and other treatments.
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Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and is based only on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid the use of third party references. We link to primary sources (including studies, scientific references and statistics) in each article and list them in the resource section at the bottom of our articles. You can find out more about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date by reading our editorial policy. Although radioactive nuclear energy is routinely released in all stages of production, the regulation of these emissions has never taken into account the potentially vulnerable: women, especially if pregnant, and children. From uranium mining and milling to fuel production, electricity production and radioactive waste management, children and indigenous peoples in frontline communities can be disproportionately harmed by toxic exposure, resource scarcity, and the often heightened sensitivity of development systems to racial and class discrimination. The reasons why women and children are more vulnerable to harm from radiation exposure are not fully understood. Regulatory practices, especially when setting protective lighting standards, did not take this difference into account. Anecdotal evidence in communities around nuclear facilities suggests a link between radiation exposure and birth defects, miscarriage, and childhood cancer. A significant number of academic studies attribute other factors related to diet and lifestyle and find these health indicators to be statistically insignificant. In the case of a large release of radiation due to a serious nuclear accident, children are again on the front lines, with a significant susceptibility to thyroid cancer, which was observed in significant numbers in children exposed to both the 1986 Tornobyl nuclear accident. in Ukraine. and the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. Feedback between Japanese authorities is responsible for increasing testing or reducing testing. There is a need for more independent studies that focus on children, especially those on the vulnerable front lines in Indigenous communities. While conducting these studies, more attention should be paid to the culturally significant traditions and customs of these communities.
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Radioactivity is released at all stages, from uranium mining to electricity production and the generation of radioactive waste. In some of these stages, toxic heavy metals are also released into the environment.
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Children, women, and especially pregnant women who live near nuclear production facilities appear to be at a disproportionate risk of harm from exposure to these emissions. Children from indigenous and non-white communities, often poor, with fewer resources and less access to health care, are also more vulnerable, affected by discrimination, socio-economic and cultural factors.
However, pregnancy, children and women are unprotected by current regulatory standards, which are based on “permissible” or “allowable” doses for a “reference man”. At the beginning of the nuclear weapons era, “permissible dose” was more correctly recognized as “acceptable limit of injury”, but that language has since been sanitized.1 Permissible does not mean safe. Reference man described as “… a nuclear industry worker aged 20 to 30, [who is] 70 kg (154 lb), 170 cm (67 in) tall … Caucasian and of Western European or North American descent. inches’. 2
Very early research in the United States in 1945 and 1946 showed an increased sensitivity of pregnancy to radiation exposure. Pregnant dogs injected with radiostrontium had defects in their offspring, and yet the full results of this study were not published until 1969.
By the 1960s, however, American experts were clearly aware that research indicated an increased sensitivity of children, when the Federal Radiation Council (FRC) (founded by President Eisenhower in 1959) briefly considered a definition of a “children’s standard”, whom they later favored. left. To maintain the definition of Standard Man, 1 was later called Reference Man. A 1960 report also recognized hormones as a “co-carcinogen” of radiation, reflecting later research showing that radiation affects the estrogenic pathway, although this mechanism remains poorly understood and little researched.4
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And while the current US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Toxicant Exposure Guidelines recognize early life cycle susceptibility to a number of mutagens 5 , it recommends a risk factor of 10 for some of these toxins after birth and before age two, 6 radiation exposure standards still on the reference is based. human. is
Gender-differentiated effects occur for a range of chemicals and for different exposure scenarios. In some cases, males are more susceptible than females, while the opposite is also observed. 7 Regarding ionizing radiation, in particular, data from atomic bomb survivors in Japan showed that “women of the same age of exposure (26- .30 years) suffer 50% more cancer than men… 9
Since women’s cumulative baseline rates for most cancers are lower than men’s, radiation exposure 10 11 removes a woman’s potential natural resistance to cancer, while increasing her risk relative to men. However, not enough research has been done in this area to be sure.
Current US regulations allow a radiation dose to the public (100 mrem per year) that creates a lifetime cancer risk for a reference male model of 1 in 143. Despite the EPA’s acceptable risk range for lifetime cancer risk due to toxic substances. There is 1 person. Between 1 million and 1 person in 10 000.12 As the EPA points out, this gives radiation “special pollutant” status. 13 Furthermore, biokinetic models of radioisotopes are not specific. There are still male models
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