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1915
 

Gynaecological Brachytherapy in March 1915

1915 stralenkrt 5 brachy3.jpg 

The treatment chart describes a technically complex procedure.  Each of the five radium tubes contains 20 mg of radium. These are brass tubes with a wall thickness of 0.5 mm, encased in rubber of a thickness of 1-3 mm.  The vaginal radium tampon is fixed in a brass tube in which on one side a brass shielding plate is meant to protect the healthy side of the vaginal wall. An additional rubber layer  is to weaken the secondary radiation from this shield.  A quantity of gauze dressing material keeps the radium tubes at a distance from the area to be protected.

1915 stralenkrt 5 brachy2.jpg 

The treatment chart, with thanks to medical physicist Harm Meertens, who digitized the chart probably during the 80's. In the actual archive these historical documents from the earliest period are no longer available.  All charts before 1920 have been lost due to water damage. 

Gyneacologische Brachytherapie behandeling, aanvang 16 maart 1915 

This patient receives the first radium application on 16 March 1915.  The radium charge is a total of 101.5 mg of radium in five tubes with 0.5 mm brass filter. Total exposure is 5300 mg.hr. with a gap of 27 days after 2000 mg.hr. The chart number 511 leads to the assumption that since the opening of the Netherlands Cancer Institute on 17 January 1915, already around 510 patients have been treated. A large part will have received radiotherapy in combination with surgery or radiotherapy alone - a high workload in 2 months time for Dr. Gaarenstroom.