Electromagnetic Radiation
Quantum and Nuclear

Treat the tumour

Classroom Activity for 11-14 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

In this activity, students use an interactive radiotherapy treatment planner for a patient with a cancerous tumour in their lung.


Apparatus and materials

Each student will require a photocopy of the instructions.

The classroom activity

  1. Target the beams of high energy photons at the tumour by repositioning the beams around the linear accelerator. Reposition the body itself using the bed controls in the top right corner.
  2. Adjust the exposure time on each beam to ensure you've exposed the tumour to enough radiation to remove it.
  3. Healthy tissue is also damaged by radiation, so you have to make sure that the tumour receives the required dose without damaging the tissue surrounding it. 

The radiation can damage healthy cells as it passes through normal tissue on its way to the tumour. Discuss with students how firing radiation from a series of different directions ensures that the cancerous tumour will receive a full dose whilst the surrounding healthy tissue receives a much lower dose.

More information about radiotherapy and linear accelerators can be found on this page

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Bed Controls

Radiotherapy complete

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