Dr. Wollman describes the precautions taken to prevent patients from an overexposure to radiation during treatment.
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Patient Radiation Overexposure We have many, many safeguards in radiation oncology to make sure that the dose of radiation that’s delivered each day is the dose that the doctor has prescribed. From daily check of the machine by a radiation therapist, weekly checks of the machine by radiation physicists, and a whole series of record and verify protections that are built into the software that won’t allow the machine to deliver the wrong dose of radiation. One thing people sometimes worry about is, you know, the amount of time that they are lying on the table and does that vary from day-to-day? We actually carefully measure the amount of radiation coming out of the machine and not time. So patients will often say to me, “Hey, I was on the table a little bit longer, a few seconds, milliseconds.” Sometimes patients actually measure, and I always have to tell them, that’s not a danger of over exposure. It’s actually the dose rate. The amount of energy the machine can pull from the power grid to make radiation beams changes so the time does change a little bit, but the actual amount of radiation is constant from treatment to treatment.