Author: Masaharu Tsubokura M.D., PhD.

Editor: Yudai Kaneda

321  Remote Control of Radiation

April 3, 2021

Treating cancer by inserting radioactive substances into the body, such as by taking capsules containing radioactive substances or administering them into the bloodstream, is called internal therapy.

On the other hand, brachytherapy is a treatment method in which a small, encapsulated radioactive substance is inserted directly into the cancer cells or their surrounding area from outside the body to expose the cancer cells to radiation.

There are two methods to insert directly the encapsulated radioactive substances into the body. One is to encapsulate the radioactive substance in a small capsule (about 1 mm × 5 mm) and implant it permanently in the prostate gland, and the other is to put the radioactive substance temporarily close to the area to be irradiated via a remote control and retrieve it when the treatment is completed.

For example, to treat cancer found in the esophagus, a tube is inserted into the patient's mouth in the same way as a gastroscope is. After about 10 minutes of treatment, the radioactive substances are removed. This process is repeated several times.

 Brachytherapy cannot treat large lesions because the radiation is applied to a localized area only, but it is one of the most effective ways to treat cancer.

322  Release of the Latest Report

April 10, 2021

Several international organizations have released reports on the radiation exposure and health effects of the recent nuclear accident.

The most representative of these is the United Nations’ report (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation).

 In the 1950s, when many nuclear tests were conducted, radioactive materials were scattered worldwide, and public opinion increased about environmental pollution and radiation’s health effects on the human body. Against, this background, this UN committee was established and it issued the same report after the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

 In the report, a team of experts from dozens of countries not only assessed the surrounding environment but also estimated residents’ internal and external exposure in each region as well as that of the plant workers. These assessments were based on actual measurements and values of radiation the government and research institutes released. The exposure doses were also estimated according to the residents’ evacuation routes at the time of the accident.

The first UN report on the nuclear accident was released in 2013, and since then, the report has been reviewed at regular intervals to confirm the assessments made to date. The latest version was released last month as the "2020 Report.”

 The report concludes that it is unlikely there will be any health effects such as an increase in cancer in the future as a direct result of exposure, but further details will be explained in the future.


The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, on 3 and 10 April 2021 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.

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