Medical Radiation – Hadrons and Health Care


Hadrons are nuclear particles used in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Derived from Greek, the term refers to particles heavier than electrons, eg. neutrons, protons, helium and heavier nuclei. Results confirm that hadron beams have definite advantages over conventional photon and electron beams for the treatment of certain types of tumours and benign lesions.

The Medical Radiation Department operates the hadron (neutron and proton) therapy facilities at iThemba LABS. It is the only hadron therapy centre in Africa and in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also the only centre in the world where patients can be treated with both high-energy neutrons and high-energy protons. Patients from all over South Africa as well from neighbouring countries have been treated on the facilities. The Medical Radiation Department and the Hospital Services also provide unique opportunities for research and actively supports the training of medical physicists, therapy radiographers, oncology nurses and post-graduate students.