Course Report

Physics for modern radiotherapy - PDF Version 

7-10 September 2020, online  

Course directors:  

-Ben Heijmen, medical physicist, Erasmus MC - Cancer Institute, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 
-Eduard Gershkevits, chief medical physicist, North Estonia Medical Centre, Tallinn, Estonia 

I am a medical physicist in my second year of work in clinical radiation therapy. At my current institution, I have close working collaborations across many clinical disciplines. In order to review my knowledge of radiation physics in the context of radiotherapy and to understand the perspectives of my clinician colleagues, I chose to participate in the European SocieTy for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) course in physics for modern radiotherapy, which was a joint course for clinicians and physicists. 

As I am relatively new to clinical radiotherapy, the course helped me to understand the background of the modern radiotherapy techniques that are used in the institution where I work. In particular, the lectures about field junctions and rotational therapy gave me an understanding of how much conformal radiotherapy has developed in a relatively short time. I feel I have gained a strong foundation to be able to collaborate outside my institution, since I learned  about radiotherapy techniques that are no longer used in my institution and became aware of the variety of radiotherapy techniques that were used in the world.  

The lecture about systematic and random errors as they contribute to margin size definitions was engaging and entertaining. This informative lecture made us think of margins beyond their specificity to an individual patient or treatment unit. It activated critical thinking about the definitions we use and the limitations we encounter when we aim for conformal radiotherapy. 

Through presentations that were designed for clinicians, I gained an understanding of what was important to their part of the radiation therapy planning and treatment process. The content of the course helped me specifically to explain the technique of 3D computerised tomography (CT) in a manner that is relevant and meaningful for clinician colleagues. 

Pre-recorded lectures were a great asset to the course because participants could listen at leisure and prepare questions that would make the live sessions more interactive and relevant to the specific interests of those who attended the course. 

Attending  the joint coursePhysics for modern radiotherapy, can help anyone to communicate across the variety of disciplines that are involved in the planning and delivery of radiotherapy. 

Julie Haglund 
Medical physicist 
Karlstad, Sweden