In the early 1900’s, Marie Curry discovered the radioactive elements of polonium and radium. Radium was the main radioactive agent used until the mid 1900’s then Cobalt 60 was discovered and then used in radiation therapy equipment. This was the standard of radiation therapy and is still used by some hospitals today to treat cancer patients.
The problem with the Cobalt 60 radiation therapy equipment is that it cannot be found naturally but must be created in the hospital. The equipment to create Cobalt 60 can be large and also dangerous to the employees of the hospital. There are several safety guidelines that have to be followed in the room storing the generator that must be duplicated in any room where the actual material will be used on patients. This creates a cost issue for many hospitals where they may have several rooms for treating cancer patients.
Later developments led to the use of linear accelerators as radiation therapy equipment. This equipment used self contained radioactive components and did not need to have a separate room for the creation of the radioactive isotopes. This feature allowed the hospitals to have one room for treatment and containment and lowered the construction cost of many additional oncology wings. It was also safer for the patients and the doctors who would be administering the treatments.
Many of the advances in radiation therapy equipment came as the result of advances in particle acceleration. These advances created a cylinder that could be used to target the radiation to a specific area on the patient, eliminating the external damage to the healthy cells that older Cobalt 60 radiation therapy caused. This also led to the creation of larger radiation therapy equipment based on the linear accelerators advances that could treat any location on a patient without the need for uncomfortable positioning or large frames for immobilizing the patient while the treatment was being applied.
The linear accelerator has become the standard for radiation therapy equipment and has been in use since the late 1940’s. This equipment comes in a variety of sizes and provides many benefits over the older Cobalt 60 systems. With the ability to limit the size of the beam and the added ability to scan the patient with the same equipment, the linear accelerator can assist the doctor by providing a three dimensional model of the tumor and showing the doctor the exact position of the been in relation to the cancerous cells needing to be destroyed.
Acceletronics is a company that offers a full line of radiation therapy equipment and can even assist your hospital with the planning necessary to provide a safe environment for your staff and your patients. They have a staff of project managers who are knowledgeable in all areas of radiation therapy equipment safety and can assist your construction team in designing treatment centers that comply with all OSHA safety standards.
More information regarding the equipment and services offered by Acceletronics can be found on their web site, www.acceletronics.com. You can also contact the company toll-free at 1-800-543-5144. They can even provide 24 / 7 / 365 service to their products.