Theoretical Background to Radiation Protection

Authored by: Mike Rosenbloom

Handbook of Radiotherapy Physics

Print publication date:  June  2007
Online publication date:  June  2007

Print ISBN: 9780750308601
eBook ISBN: 9781420012026
Adobe ISBN:


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In Part B, Gordon Steel describes the process whereby ionising radiation acts directly on the DNA of the nucleus causing cell death, as well as the mechanisms for subsequent repair. For large doses of radiation, the damage, which may occur early or late in the life of the organism, is more or less predictable and its severity may be determined by the magnitude of the dose and the timing of its delivery. For this reason, such damage is described as deterministic. In general, the dose–response function is sigmoid and exhibits a threshold. This threshold is large compared to the doses that will be experienced by staff and public, and with the rare exception of the foetus of a pregnant patient undergoing therapy, deterministic effects will not be discussed within this chapter * .

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