Electromagnetic waves and radiation beams are widely used as a method of treatment and examination. One type of ray that is widely used in the medical world is gamma rays.
Gamma rays can come from natural sources such as radon gas, a naturally occurring radioactive element on earth and outer space. However, humans using special machines and radioactive materials can also make gamma rays, such as polonium, radium, cobalt, and iridium.
Gamma rays are generally used to generate electricity for nuclear energy. However, besides that, gamma rays are also quite often used in the medical world.
Benefits of Gamma Rays for Health
The following are some medical or health benefits of gamma rays:
Gamma rays can be used as radiotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer. Exposure to this light can cause damage to the DNA of cancer cells, thereby inhibiting the growth and spread of cancer cells.
However, the use of gamma rays must be done carefully and directed precisely to the body's area to be treated. If not, gamma rays can also damage healthy body cells.
Brain and neurosurgical procedures
One method of therapy using gamma rays that is currently widely practiced is the gamma knife surgery method. Although it is called a knife, this method does not require any incisions.
Gamma knife surgery is performed by directing gamma-ray radiation to the area of the tumor or cancer cells that grow in brain tissue to kill the abnormal tissue.
Apart from treating brain tumors, gamma-ray surgery can also treat other disorders of the nerves and brain, such as venous artery malformations or AVMs and trigeminal neuralgia.
Compared to conventional brain surgery methods, this surgical method using gamma rays has several advantages: minimizing the pain that appears, having a lower risk of complications, and a faster postoperative recovery period.
Medical equipment sterilization
Gamma rays can also be used to sterilize medical equipment. Compared to other methods, sterilization of medical equipment with gamma rays has several advantages, namely better exposure to gamma rays. It is more effective in killing all types of viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Even though it is quite effective, sterilization of medical equipment with gamma rays cannot be done to clean all kinds of medical devices, for example, medical equipment made from polymer, because it can damage the medical device.
Apart from the above benefits, gamma rays can also be used to sterilize food by irradiating food. Food irradiation is the process of removing bacteria that can potentially cause food poisoning. This process can also be used to preserve food.
Although it is quite common for packaging sterilization in the food industry. However, several studies have shown that eating foods that have been irradiated too often may be bad for health. This process is thought to reduce the nutritional content contained in food.
Gamma rays do have benefits for humans. However, too frequent exposure to gamma rays is also not good for health. This is because long-term exposure to gamma rays can cause several health problems, such as cancer.
Therefore, using technology that utilizes gamma rays is not recommended to be done too often to reduce this risk.
If you plan to undergo treatment using gamma rays, consult your doctor. The doctor will determine the best treatment steps according to your condition.