Persuasive Essay On Medical Technology

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Over the last few decades technology has made great progress in the medical field, helping to discover new treatments and cures for problems affecting the human body. Anti-biotics are being used to fight off infection, multiple radiation beams are being used instead of just one for tumor treatment to help patients avoid harmful radiation, and many more that were thought impossible just a short while ago. But even in cases where there is still no definitive cure, technology has advanced so much that doctors are able to identify problems in the body earlier, allowing treatment to begin sooner and potentially turning a fatal disease into a chronic one. One area of technology that has proven to be very useful in medicine is the use of radioisotopes. …show more content…
Chalk River Nuclear in northern Ontario is a nuclear facility that is responsible for 10% of the world’s supply in medical radioisotopes. This creates a high demand for the Canadian facility to export its product which leads to revenue. However, it along with a plant in Norway that also accounts for a large portion of worldwide supply are being shut down. If scientists working at the plants could find ways to stockpile these isotopes, shortages could be avoided. The reactors are also involved in research; in order to reduce funding costs, national governments have required them to sell the molybdenum-99 they produce at below market price (a 6-day curie of Mo-99 production cost $225 and sells for $470), which has created little incentive for other purchasing countries to invest in new production companies. So when a facility that produces these radioisotopes goes off-line shortages happen and resources are rationed. This means that patients in hospitals are prioritized and not all the patients that may benefit from the use of these isotopes get diagnosed as early. If their problem turns out to be something of significance like osteosarcoma, not having access to an early diagnosis would mean the patient is now in a much worse state of health and that could’ve been avoided. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTRO) stated that a gram of Mo-99 is worth $46 million (national Academies Press, 2009). Ron Cameron, head of nuclear development Nuclear Energy Agency, has predicted that the price of Mo-99 could increase 7-fold, due to the radioisotopes shortage. Production of Tc-99m was halted in 2016 at the Chalk River facility even though it is set to shut down in 2018. Because of Tc-99m’s half-life it cannot be stockpiled which also creates more problems for purchasing industries. If a reactor is shut down for a week, that can’t be replaced.

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