Heavy machinery is widely used in the 21st century in a number of medical applications. One area in which they are widely used is cancer treatment. Modern technology, which has the ability to harness the power of radiation, can be used in treatment programs to kill cancer cells and prevent tumors from spreading. This equipment is incredibly important to hospitals and other medical institutions; they help save many lives.
Linear accelerators are some of the machines most commonly used to treat cancer patients. They are large pieces of equipment that consist of numerous parts, two of which are the gantry and the waveguide, which are fundamental to the working of the system. In the waveguide, the radiation is produced: high energy electrons are fired at a heavy metal plate, which results in constant collisions. These collisions produce energetic x-rays. The x-rays are collected in the waveguide, and directed as a beam towards the gantry. The gantry then passes the x-ray beam out of the machine into the patient’s body, towards the tumor. The x-rays have enough energy to kill the cancer cells. As the beam of x-rays is very narrow, it can be precisely aimed at the tumor. This prevents surrounding healthy cells being damaged. The treatment provided by linear accelerators can be very effective in reducing and eliminating cancer.
A linear accelerator must only be used by key members of medical staff. One of these is the radiation oncologist, a specialist Doctor who is involved in treating the patient. It is up to them to decide what dosage of radiation the patient should receive. The radiation physicist has to work out how long it will take for the linear accelerator to deliver that dose. Dosimetrists – specially trained technicians who have carefully studied radiation machinery – must decide how the dose should be administered. The operator of the linear accelerator is the radiation therapist; it is their job to give patients their daily treatment.
A lot of care must be taken when using a linear accelerator, as they can potentially be very dangerous due to the nature of radiation. The machines are kept in rooms surrounded by lead and concrete walls, which prevent x-rays leaking. All medical staff must stay outside the room whilst it is turned on – controls outside the room are used to operate it. Radiation physicists check linear accelerators are in full working condition on a weekly basis, to ensure nothing goes wrong. Indeed, the risk of radiation exposure to anyone other than the patient is incredibly low, as long as regulations are considered at all times.
Linear accelerators provided by Acceletronics are highly reliable and durable, as technicians at the company check they are in good condition before they are sent out to customers. If anything was to go wrong, a trained engineer could check the machinery immediately for faults. In some locations, a regular maintenance service from Acceletronics is available. As well as this, members of the staff can install linear accelerators correctly for clients.