Tag Archives: Radiation
Earn a point for every right answer! Save your score at the end of the quiz.
TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese research agency has dropped a controversial public relations campaign aimed at educating women about nuclear safety that compared radiation to the screaming voice of an angry wife.
The Japanese Atomic Energy Agency devoted a page on its website to an effort to “make the hard words used in the nuclear power industry” more easy to understand, particularly for women.
The page, which included a cartoon of an angry, fist-waving wife and her cowering husband, compared the wife’s yell to radiation. It continued the metaphor by saying that the women’s increasing agitation could be compared to “radioactivity”, while claiming the wife herself was comparable to “radioactive material”.
The webpage, first published in 2010, was dropped on Monday after the agency received dozens of complaints.
“I have no idea why this page suddenly attracted people’s attention, but we would have deleted it earlier had we known about this page,” said Yusuke Uehara, a spokesman for the government-affiliated agency which conducts nuclear research, including work on safety.
“This discriminates against women, which is inappropriate.”
All 50 of Japan’s operable nuclear reactors remain offline after a series of meltdowns and hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant forced evacuations and renewed scrutiny of Japan’s policy towards atomic energy.
Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the Fukushima plant, said last month that the radiation released in the first days of the Fukushima disaster was almost 2-1/2 times the amount first estimated by safety regulators.
The accident was the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.
The “radioactive wife” cartoon had been created by a group of six women who live near Tokaimura, site of a 1999 nuclear accident at a uranium reprocessing plant.
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Prostate Cancer External Beam Radiation: IMRT Beats 3D, Proton Beam
Nearly all men with prostate cancer who opt for external beam radiation get a treatment called intensity-modulated radiation therapy or IMRT. IMRT has almost entirely replaced another type of radiation treatment called 3D conformational therapy — even though it’s much more expensive, with little head-to-head evidence showing it works better.
And there’s an even newer and even more expensive prostate cancer treatment: proton beam therapy. More and more medical centers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build new proton beam therapy centers.
Which treatment really offers a man the best chance of a prostate cancer cure with the fewest side effects? IMRT, according to Ronald C. Chen, MD, MPH, and colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“For prostate cancer in this country, we have completely adopted IMRT,” Chen tells WebMD. “I don’t see anybody going back to 3D therapy. And thankfully, our study does show it is better in terms of cancer control and reducing long-term side effects. So IMRT is here to stay.”
Chen’s team didn’t conduct a clinical trial. Instead, they compared results for similar Medicare patients who underwent IMRT, 3D conformational therapy, or proton beam therapy for prostate cancer. The data came from Medicare-linked records from the huge U.S. Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database.
The study analyzed data from 6,666 men treated with IMRT, 6,310 men treated with 3D conformational therapy, and 684 men treated with proton beam therapy.
- Men treated with IMRT were 19% less likely to need additional cancer treatment compared to men treated with 3D conformational therapy.
- Men treated with IMRT were 12% more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction than were men treated with 3D conformational therapy.
- Men treated with IMRT were 22% less likely to be diagnosed with hip fractures and 9% less likely to have gastrointestinal problems than were men treated with 3D conformational therapy.
- There was no difference in the need for additional cancer treatment between men treated with IMRT and those treated with proton beam therapy.
- Men treated with IMRT were 34% less likely to suffer gastrointestinal events than were men treated with proton beam therapy.
“The use of IMRT has skyrocketed in the past 10 years and it’s good to see that this study affirms the use of IMRT to reduce side effects and to reduce the risk of additional therapy,” Louis Potters, MD, chair of radiation medicine at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y., tells WebMD.
Potters, who was not involved in the Chen study, says that IMRT costs more than 3D radiation, and that the new findings “validate” the procedure.
Study Shows Many Don’t Get Recommended Radiation Therapy After a Mastectomy
The women are skipping radiation therapy despite guidelines from four organizations that recommend the treatment for this type of patient. The treatment decreases recurrence and boosts survival, says study researcher Ben Smith, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
“Even if you have adequate surgery, there is a chance of hidden cancer cells after the surgery,” he tells WebMD. If women with advanced cancer do not have the radiation after the mastectomy, he says, “up to 30 or 40% will have a recurrence.”
Smith tracked more than 38,000 women ages 66 and above. All had mastectomies for invasive beast cancer between 1992 and 2005. He calculated how many had high-risk invasive cancer and which of them had the recommended radiation treatment.
The study is published in the journal Cancer.
Underuse of Radiation Therapy
Even though radiation therapy after mastectomy is known to improve survival for high-risk patients, some previous research has suggested it is underused.
Smith and colleagues evaluated information from a data base known as SEER-Medicare (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results).
The researchers divided patients into low risk, intermediate risk, and high risk, depending on such factors as tumor size and lymph node involvement. The guidelines suggest the high-risk women benefit from the radiation after mastectomy. Whether to give it to intermediate-risk women is debated, Smith says.
From 1996 to 1998, high-risk patients who got radiation therapy increased from 36.5% to 57.7%. That increase followed published studies showing the value of the therapy, Smith says.
However, no further increase was seen from 1999 to 2005. During this period, only 54.8% of high-risk patients got radiation therapy after mastectomy.
Four organizations had issued guidelines about the value of radiation after mastectomy from 1999 to 2001: the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
Smith’s study did not go into why the women didn’t have the recommended treatment. ”Some may be elderly and frail,” he says. Some may have other illnesses and declined the option.
Because the researchers only studied women who were Medicare-eligible and over 65, the findings may not apply to younger women, he says.
Radiation is generally well-tolerated, Smith says. Among the downsides, he says, is a risk of lymphedema, an accumulation of lymph fluid in the arm that can be uncomfortable. Fatigue is common.
The study was partially funded by Varian Medical Systems. It makes devices for treating patients with radiation and other therapies.