# Why is Cobalt-60 suitable for cancer treatment?

## Why is Cobalt-60 suitable for cancer treatment?

The gamma rays emitted by cobalt-60 are harnessed by the radiotherapy instrument which is highly effective in precisely delivering a high dose of radiation to the tumour area and therefore preserving surrounding healthy tissue.

Why is Cobalt used to treat cancer?

Gamma Knife and Cancer Treatment Stereotactic Radiosurgery using Cobalt-60 therapy allows doctors to deliver higher doses of radiation to tumours, while limiting damage to the surrounding healthy tissue and organs.

Why is Cobalt-60 important?

Co-60 is used medically for radiation therapy as implants and as an external source of radiation exposure. It is used industrially in leveling gauges and to x-ray welding seams and other structural elements to detect flaws. Co-60 also is used for food irradiation, a sterilization process.

### What problem does Cobalt-60 solve?

Cobalt-60 is used in the inspection of materials to reveal internal structure, flaws, or foreign objects and in the sterilization of food. In medicine, it is used to treat cancer and to sterilize medical equipment.

How long does cobalt-60 stay in the body?

Cobalt-60 decays continuously. The time taken to lose 50% of its initial activity, i.e., its half-life, is 5.26 years.

Is cobalt still used to treat cancer?

Cobalt-60 technology is currently used to treat roughly 70 per cent of the world’s cancer cases treated by radiation. LHSC’s last Cobalt treatment was delivered in 2004.

#### How does Cobalt-60 affect the environment?

How does cobalt-60 change in the environment? Cobalt-60 decays by beta and gamma emission to non- radioactive nickel. Most of the radiation from the decay of cobalt-60 is in the form of gamma emissions; some is in the form of beta particles. The half-life of cobalt-60 is about 5.2 years.

How do you dispose of cobalt-60?

When the cobalt-60 is no longer usable, final disposal means the sealed source is placed in a safe, tightly-controlled location from which there is no intent to retrieve it or has decayed to the point where it is essentially a non-radioactive waste, e.g. cobalt-60 with a half-life of 5.26 years naturally decays into …

What type of cancer does cobalt-60 Treat?

Cobalt 60 (60Co) is often the ideal mode of radiation for treating laryngeal cancer. For primary treatment of laryngeal cancer, 60Co allows adequate dosing of the superficial tissues.

## Is cobalt-60 still used to treat cancer?

Is Cobalt 60 still used to treat cancer?

Is cobalt a hazardous waste?

* Cobalt is on the Hazardous Substance List because it is regulated by OSHA and cited by ACGIH, DOT, NIOSH, DEP, IARC and EPA.

### What are the side effects of cobalt radiation?

Side effects

• acid reflux.
• burn.
• chronic fatigue.
• chronic idiopathic axonal polyneuropathy.
• dry mouth.
• dry scalp.

# Why is Cobalt 60 suitable for cancer treatment?

## Why is Cobalt 60 suitable for cancer treatment?

The main reason for its wide use in radiotherapy is that it has a longer half-life, 5.27 years, than many other gamma emitters. However this half life still requires cobalt sources to be replaced about every 5 years.

### Is Cobalt still used to treat cancer?

Cobalt-60 technology is currently used to treat roughly 70 per cent of the world’s cancer cases treated by radiation. LHSC’s last Cobalt treatment was delivered in 2004.

#### Why is cobalt important in medicine?

Vitamin B12 plays a number of vital roles in the physiology of the human body. Cobalt is also important in treatments of radiotherapy in the form of the isotope 60Co. Other medical uses of cobalt include the detection of tumours and metastases, sterilisation of surgical equipment and the imaging of damage to the brain.

What are the dangers of cobalt-60?

Because it decays by gamma radiation, external exposure to large sources of Co-60 can cause skin burns, acute radiation sickness, or death. Most Co-60 that is ingested is excreted in the feces; however, a small amount is absorbed by the liver, kidneys, and bones.

How does cobalt-60 affect the environment?

How does cobalt-60 change in the environment? Cobalt-60 decays by beta and gamma emission to non-radioactive nickel. Most of the radiation from the decay of cobalt- 60 is in the form of gamma emissions; some is in the form of beta particles.

## What are the dangers of cobalt 60?

### What diseases can cobalt cause?

Cobalt is toxic to the heart muscle. It can cause heart muscle disease (toxic cardiomyopathy) after too much exposure. An increase in red blood cells (polycythemia) may be a symptom of too much cobalt. Not treating this issue can cause congestive heart failure.

#### Can you touch cobalt?

Cobalt poisoning that occurs from constant contact with your skin will likely cause irritation and rashes that go away slowly. Swallowing a large amount of absorbable cobalt at one time is very rare and is likely not very dangerous. It may cause nausea and vomiting.

How is Cobalt 60 used in radiation therapy?

Cobalt 60. Cobalt-60 ( 60Co) is a synthetic radioisotope that has been used in both external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy. 60Co decays via $$\beta$$ decay to an excited state of Nickel-60 which then emits two high energy (1.17MeV and 1.33MeV) gamma-rays.

How is Cobalt 60 used to treat laryngeal cancer?

For primary treatment of laryngeal cancer, 60 Co allows adequate dosing of the superficial tissues. Historically, great concern has been expressed that 6-MV photons have too large a buildup region and can potentially underdose superficial tissues. Most radiation oncology centers have only linear accelerators.

## How does Cobalt 60 affect the human body?

However, a small amount continues to remain in the body. This because the liver, kidneys and bones absorb small amounts of cobalt-60, in turn increasing the risk of cancer. This material has been shown to affect the brain as well. The onset symptoms of radiation therapy include poor memory, confusion, personality changes and slower thinking.

### Why are Cobalt 60 isotopes used in industrial use?

It is convenient and cost-effective for industrial use Its radiation emission levels are relatively low, making exposure to workers in an industrial environment safer.

#### Why is Cobalt 60 used in a treatment of cancer?

Cobalt therapy or cobalt-60 therapy is the medical use of gamma rays from the radioisotope cobalt-60 to treat conditions such as cancer. Beginning in the 1950s, cobalt-60 was widely used in external beam radiotherapy (teletherapy) machines, which produced a beam of gamma rays which was directed into the patient’s body to kill tumor tissue.

What are the harmful effects of Cobalt 60?

• Gamma Knife®. Cobalt-60 is almost exclusively used for Gamma Knife® surgery in the United States.
• Subacute Side Effects. Fatigue is the most common side effect of Cobalt-60 radiation and can last weeks to years.
• Late Onset Side Effects.

What are the hazards of Cobalt 60?

External exposure to large sources of Cobalt-60 can cause skin burns, radiation sickness or death. Most Co-60 that is ingested is excreted in the feces; however, a small amount is absorbed by the liver, kidneys, and bones. Prolonged exposure to airborne particles may result in coughing, gasping, and respiratory sensitivity.

## Who invented the treatment of cancer using cobalt 60?

In 1951, University of Saskatchewan medical physicist Dr. Harold Johns and his graduate students became the first researchers in the world to successfully treat a cancer patient using cobalt-60 radiation therapy.