Identify a Potential Unintended Consequence of the Rapid Advances Made in Science and Technology Essay

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Consequence of Rapid Advances in Science and Technology

Identify A Potential Unintended Consequence Of The Rapid Advances Made In Science And Technology

Potential unintended consequences of rapid advances in science and technology

The purpose of this paper is to identify the unintended consequence of radiotherapy treatment on the cancer patient. Radiotherapy is the technology that is regularly used to directly kill the cancerous cells through the use of the short-wave rays. The process is intended to help the patient with a treatment option other than leaving the patient suffers from the impacts of cancer. Unintended consequences are those impacts that arise from a technology that was initially meant to have a solution to a specific problem. The unintended consequences may be positive or negative but mostly they are negative consequences that are observed. For example, the purpose of the Avandia or rosiglitazone that was intended to help the diabetes II patients turned out to have the effects of increased cases of bone fractures among the patients as it was found to lead to bone thinning Abrams & Weil, 2008.

This paper will be based on the grounds that radiotherapy among the ever increasing numbers of cancer patients, the side effects seen on the areas near the treated body part.


The unintended consequences of radiotherapy may start during the time of treatment or after the treatment. The consequences include; fatigue since during the treatment process, the body uses a lot of energy as the radiation deals with the body cells. The fatigue starts during the treatment period and will continue for some months after the treatment period. Another effect is skin problem; the treatment makes the skin part where treatment has taken place dehydrated, irritated and may peel out. The other consequence is loss of hair; the hair is lost at the area of treatment and it may be temporal or permanent Handbook of philosophy of technological sciences, 2008.

Other severe effects of radiotherapy include effect to the women as the rays have been found to affect the fertility of the men and women, affect the desire for intercourse, nausea effects and may severely affect the unborn baby if the woman on radiotherapy is pregnant. The unintended impacts of radiotherapy matters such as the cases of cancer are on the rise in the modern society, and the patients need to understand the consequences clearly before selecting radiotherapy as their mode of treatment among the few modes of treatment that are available. The consequences also matter so as the medical researchers can come up with mitigation measures so as the patients do not go through the effect during and after the treatment process Bonavida, 2008.

Some of the consequences are life threatening, for example the effects on the unborn babies who may be paralyzed or the effects of infertility.

Radiotherapy being a form of very powerful x-rays that are aimed at the area where cancer is occurring, can be said that it was invented in hundred years ago but it began to evolve from the input of Marrie Curie ( the noble winner) who invented the radium and polonium that are elements that radioactive. But over the years more technological changes and safety measures have been put in place, as before the 1940s, the radiotherapy rooms were not safe as the gamma rays and x-rays were not contained and the doctor and nurses were required to put on protective gears covering their body, later they were required to cover the body parts that are sensitive to gamma rays, like the testicles region. Another technological change was made on the radiotherapy evolution, whereby positron emission tomography. Later in the 1990s, the technology was developed to only target the infected region and the 4-Dimension imaging technique is being developed. The healthcare that led for the use of radiotherapy was that most people who were diagnosed with cancer ended up dying since they could not afford the cost of medical care involved by preventing it from spreading. The inventers have worked on the mechanism to make the prevention affordable to most people as the radiotherapy is administered in doses over a period of weeks to help the patient to receive the whole dose within a short time, and for good as the rays kill the cancerous cells completely hence stopping their growth. Some of the health care practices that were on the use included prescribing strong dosage of painkillers to reduce the pain caused by the infected cancer region. This did not help the patient as the pain was prevented for a while but the cells continued to grow KES International Symposium on Intelligent Decision Technologies, 2009()

The radiotherapy came into frequent usage when the health care scheme and political good will increased enabling more patients to receive the attention needed with affordable rates. The unintended consequences arise as the patient is exposed to the rays in dosages for a long period of time; as the patient cannot be administered with the whole dosage at ago. The therapy became possible as the rays were projected to the area where the cells have developed the cancerous characteristics. The patient is gamma rays are aimed at the affected area; be it internal or external. Also the recent development allows the patient to swallow some radioactive liquid that will be absorbed by the cancerous cells. Some of the cancer that radiotherapy is used as a treatment include; brain tumor, cervical cancer, breast cancer, throat cancer among others.

The dilemma the radiotherapy poses is an ethical one of the patient having the right to know the unintended consequences that the treatment poses and asking the patient to stop taking medication due to the side effects posed by the therapy. Stopping the treatment will lead to the patient losing his or her life, and disclosing too much details on the side effects may scare the patient from registering to the therapy KES International Symposium on Intelligent Decision Technologies, 2009.

The solution to unintended consequences will be to integrate the radiotherapy treatment with other treatment that is available like chemotherapy so that the period of treatment can be reduced. The best solution is for the all the citizens of a certain country to be required by law to go for semi-annual mandatory checkup for the healthcare personnel to detect the cancer symptoms early in time and prescribe the right treatment in time. This will also reduce the days of treatment and lower the dosage amount hence reducing the side effects of the radiotherapy. Another commitment the government should undertake is; educating the public on practicing good lifestyle related activities like eating the right proportion of food that does not encourage the cancer growth and excising regularly. This will act as prevention which is always better than cure, and reducing the number of cancer patients in our hospitals.

If the above mitigation measure will be institutionalized, the awareness level among the people will increase. The political institutions will also ensure that more money is budgeted for the course of the cancer patients and research on the best medication that can be adopted to avoid the severe side effects of the radiotherapy that is being experienced. The days that a cancer patient spends in the hospital will be greatly reduced as the diseases will be detected early enough. The patient numbers being admitted in the hospitals will also be lowed thus, reducing the stress being observed on the radiotherapy machines and on the doctor to patient ratio.

The institutionalization of the solution to the unintended consequences of radiotherapy will enable the funding organization to start funding institutions that have the vision of researching on the possibility of finding innovations to the alternative means of treating cancer other than the available ones Abrams & Weil, 2008.

This is due to the fact that the government will be willing to provide semi-annual screening to their patients and the number of patients will have been reduced due to early diagnosis of the disease, this will encourage the willing partners to come on board and help the government in the same course.

The assertions are realistic as they involve the change of attitude among the political leaders and the relevant government leaders and other stakeholders. Then the common citizen will be made aware to change their way of life so as to avoid contacting the diseases hence avoiding the unintended consequences that arise thereafter. They can be implemented as the most that is required for it to succeed is finance and training the people who will be educating the public. It is implementable since most countries; the political leaders are the law makers and in this case can change any hindering laws that may be an obstacle to the implementation of the same Bonavida, 2008()


The assertion is a good idea. This is because most lives will be saved if they are implemented and at the end; the public will not have to go through the severity of the side effects caused due to the…[continue]

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