Protection of Patients
Avoiding unnecessary radiation exposure of patients without hampering medical purposes is the goal of the IAEA’s work on the radiation protection of patients.
The human population is subject to increasing medical exposure to radiation. According to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), a total of about 3.6 billion diagnostic X ray examinations are performed annually.
The total magnitude of medical radiation exposure is substantial (e.g. at least 100 times greater than exposure due to sources such as the fallout from nuclear weapon test explosions, nuclear power generation and occupational exposure combined), and it is growing rapidly. Much of this medical exposure is beneficial to patients as it is therapeutic in nature.
However, there is also a part that falls into the category of "unnecessary"’ — be it owing to lack of justification or lack of optimization. Accidental exposures in complex radiation therapy techniques continue to be reported. Information collected by the IAEA has shown that there is great scope for the avoidance of such unnecessary exposure.’
Consistent with the International Action Plan for the Radiological Protection of Patients, the next two years will focus on the following major activities:
- Updating and improving information on the RPOP website, in particular: patients and public; and health professionals
- Assisting Member States in competence and skill development for justification and optimization of protection in medical exposures
- Develop guidance material on justification targeted at referring medical practitioners
- Develop and maintain educational reporting systems for interventional procedures and radiation oncology
- Promote adoption in Member States of mechanisms to achieve patient exposure tracking
- Develop guidance material on radiation protection of special groups (Pregnant women and children
- Promote dissemination of medical radiation protection information through social media
An International Conference on Radiation Protection in Medicine - Setting the Scene for the Next Decade was held in Bonn, Germany in December 2012. This conference was hosted by the The Government of Germany. more
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