Today is Canada Health Day as well as the first anniversary of the TalkNUclear.ca blog!
We launched one year ago today because we felt it fitting to mark the important contributions nuclear technology has made to health in Canada and around the world.
It isn’t hard to understand the impact of medical isotopes. Nowhere is nuclear technology more widely accepted than in the medical field. Canada supplies a significant amount of the world’s medical isotopes for nuclear medicine, which are used every day in thousands of procedures here at home and around the world.
Last month, in honour of Daffodil Month, the CNA teamed up with the Canadian Cancer Society to promote the excellent work they do to support Canadians living with cancer. Today, we’re happy to share the good news released in the Cancer Society report on cancer statistics in Canada. The report found that the cancer death rate in Canada is going down. Nearly 100,000 lives have been saved over the last 20 years. This is attributed in part to education on preventative lifestyle measures like not smoking, exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding over-exposure to the sun. Improvements in cancer screening and treatments have made a difference as well, thanks to radiation treatments which have evolved and improved over the years:
“In the 1970s, computers were introduced into treatment planning. Radiology developed CAT, MRI and PET scans so that tumors could be targeted with precision. This was followed by intensity modulated and image guided radiation therapy (IMRT and IGRT) machinery which could use these new diagnostic advances to now deliver the dose with pin-point accuracy while avoiding normal tissues.”
– Roger F. Robison, M.D., Vice-chair, American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) History Committee, Bloomington, Ind. Source
Radiologists can now deliver radiation treatment more precisely, targeting only cancer cells. More effective radiotherapy, means more Canadians surviving cancer.
Nuclear medicine is just one example of how nuclear technology has benefited the health and wellbeing of Canadians. Beyond medical isotopes, there’s gamma processing to improve, for example, food safety, sterilizing cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, and there’s the health benefit of clean nuclear energy for the air we breathe.
Nuclear energy in Canada diverts a potential 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year that would result from the same amount of electricity generated by fossil-based sources. Greenhouse gasses contribute to climate change and smog – smog and air pollution have a huge impact on the health of Canadians and the global community.
According to Pollution Probe’s Smog Primer:
“Globally, it is estimated that by 2020 a total of 700,000 premature deaths from particulate* exposure could be prevented each year if emission reduction policies were implemented. The majority, as many as 563,000 prevented deaths, would be in developing countries, while the other 138,000 would be in developed nations, such as Canada.”
*’Particulate’ is a general name given to a tiny solid or liquid particle or piece of matter. It usually refers to particles in the air (airborne particulates).
So whether it’s beating cancer, keeping our food and products safe, and our air clean, on this Canada Health Day, we’re saying thank you to the Canadian nuclear community for the historical and ongoing contributions it’s made to our quality of life today.
And in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the TalkNUclear.ca blog, here are the top posts of the year!
Happy Canada Health Day from your Canadian Nuclear Association!