IAEA Conference Eyes Better Radiation Protections in Medicine

The participants agreed more training, more awareness, and better compliance with regulations are needed to improve protection for patients and health professionals during medical procedures.

Participants in an IAEA conference this month in Vienna, Austria, agreed that more training, more awareness, and better compliance with regulations are needed to improve radiation protections for patients and health professionals alike during medical procedures.

There were almost 550 participants in the Dec. 11-15 International Conference on Radiation Protection in Medicine: Achieving Change in Practice, and IAEA reported they "widely agreed that efforts should focus on monitoring to reduce radiation exposure of tissue outside the targeted area in radiotherapy patients, eye protection from radiation in interventional procedures, and the implementation of clinical imaging guidelines."

Intensified work in those areas is conducted in response to the Bonn Call for Action, which was issued by IAEA and the World Health Organization after a 2012 international conference in Bonn, Germany, provided for a decade-long global roadmap on radiation protection in medicine. Work conducted under the action plan contributes to safer diagnostic, therapeutic, and interventional procedures involving medical radiation. According to IAEA, an estimated 10 million people undergo such treatment and diagnosis procedures every day.

"Ensuring that such procedures are safe is an integral part of our work," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in his closing address. "The use of ionizing radiation in medicine greatly benefits individual patients and the general health of populations which are fortunate enough to have access to this technology. It is essential that patients and health professionals are protected from the harmful effects of radiation."

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