The Birth of Radiation

Michael joins us today to discuss the history of radiation treatment for various types of cancers. We discuss why it was initially perceived as a magical solution to treating cancer and why regulations were eventually implemented on the use of radiation therapy for cancer patients. We discuss how doctors obtained the radiation they needed to treat their patients in the early days of its discovery.  We discuss why the public wasn’t afraid or concerned about radiation therapy to treat different ailments during the 1890s and how doctors eventually began to realize the negative effects it can have on a person’s health. We also discuss technology’s current role in our ability to safely and accurately dose radiation to treat our patients and what Michael believes we can learn from our history with radiation oncology.

Dr. Michael Guiou is a Radiation Oncologist at Green Bay Oncology, where he treats a wide range of cancer types. He is a trial participant in the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program and has authored multiple peer-reviewed articles addressing cancers of various types and treatments. Dr. Guiou obtained his medical degree from the University of California Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento and completed his residency at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Board-certified in Radiation Oncology, Dr. Guiou has a special interest in pediatric radiation oncology, central nervous system tumors, brain and spine radiosurgery, and base of skull tumors. Dr. Guiou enjoys skiing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, camping, and watching professional soccer when he’s not treating patients.

“Proceed with caution. Sometimes that magic treatment has a darker side.” – Dr. Michael Guiou

This week on Cancer Covered:

  • Why radiation was initially perceived as ‘magical’ when it was initially discovered for medical use
  • The evolution of regulations for using radiation to treat cancer patients
  • How medical doctors obtained radiation to treat their patients in the 1890s
  • Why doctors were desperate to find more innovative and effective ways to treat cancer
  • How doctors eventually began to see the negative effects of radiation therapy
  • When clinical trials began for radiation treatment
  • The role of technology in our ability to dose radiation safely for our patients
  • How regulation and research on radiation helped drive the field of radiation therapy and oncology forward
  • Lessons we can learn from the history of radiation oncology

Resources Mentioned:

Book: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

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