Radiation is energy that is sent out from a source. Radiation exposure occurs when a person is exposed to this energy.
There are different forms of radiation. Some come from nature and some are manmade. There are the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. There is also the radiation used in microwaves to heat food. Radiation is divided into:
- Ionizing radiation—a high-frequency radiation that is able to damage cells, has also been linked to cancer and other health problems
- Nonionizing radiation—low in frequency and is not known to cause cancer (except for UV rays)
|Ionizing Radiation||Nonionizing Radiation|
|Gamma rays||Visible light|
|UV rays (high-energy)||Microwaves|
|Sub-atomic particles||Radio waves|
|UV rays (low-energy)|
Here we focus on ionizing radiation.
A person can be exposed to ionizing radiation from:
- Radiation therapy used to treat certain types of cancer
- Radioactive elements in the soil or public works systems (eg, water supply)
- Workplace environment (eg, uranium mines)
- Radiation from nuclear disasters
External Radiation of a Cancerous Growth
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Last reviewedJune 2013by Igor Puzanov, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.