Radiation Safety in Health Care

Spain is hosting the upcoming International Conference on the Radiological Protection of Patients. The Conference is being convened in Torremolinos 26-30 March under the co-sponsorship of the IAEA, European Commission, World Health Organization (WHO), and Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

More than 900 participants from 80 countries are expected to attend the conference. They cover a broad spectrum of expertise, including radiologists, nuclear medicine specialists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists, technologists/radiographers, radiological protection officers, equipment manufacturers, experts who develop standards for radiological equipment, hospital administrators and public health officials and representatives of professional societies. In addition, a number patients who have undergone radiation treatment will represent patients' interests and a patient will chair one of the round table debates. Read the IAEA press release.

More than a tenth of human exposure to radiation arises from applications in health care and treatment. Applications range from diagnostic X-rays and nuclear medicine procedures to radiation therapy for the treatment of cancers.

To achieve desired benefits for patients and prevent overexposures from occurring, medical uses of radiation must be justified, safely administered, and well-regulated. In medical diagnosis, the radiological protection objective is to keep doses as low as reasonably achievable while obtaining the necessary diagnostic information. In therapy, the objective is to ensure that the target tissue is given the prescribed dose while minimizing the dose to surrounding healthy tissue.

Through its technical programmes, the IAEA is helping countries to set up regulatory authorities for radiation protection and control programmes for medical radiation exposures. The work is part of a global action plan for ensuring the application of radiation safety standards that have been established by the IAEA jointly with WHO, PAHO, and three other organizations.

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Last update: 11 November 2014