Image-Guided Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy in Gynaecological Cancer: Focus on MRI Based Adaptive Brachytherapy for Cervical Cancer - PDF Version

24 September – 5 November 2020, online

Course directors:

Kari Tanderup, Physicist, Aarhus University Hospital, Århus (Denmark)
Remi Nout, Radiation Oncologist, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam (The Netherlands)
Richard Pötter, Radiation Oncologist, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna (Austria)

From a dosimetrist’s perspective

I have worked at University Hospital Birmingham for 16 years, and I am currently the lead dosimetrist for brachytherapy.

I decided to attend this course to expand my knowledge of current practices in gynaecological treatments. The course gives a great overview of cancer treatments for gynae patients; it provides both thorough and concise explanations. I found the part on coverage probability planning extremely interesting and I am currently in discussions to implement this in my department. Professor Tanderup has been very supportive in answering my many questions. The contouring activities and lectures were very insightful; currently, I contour organs at risk (OARs) for brachytherapy, but the course content on the outlining of target volumes was also very useful, in particular the differences between computerised tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  

Working through the Embrace 2 protocol with training plans was extremely useful, because we as a department are looking to update our dose assessment form and planning methods by adopting techniques that are outlined in Embrace 2. Examples are helper contours (clinical target volume +10mm) and simultaneous integrated boost, coverage probability planning (SIB CovP).

The lectures on commissioning and quality assurance of brachytherapy applicators will prove useful as we are in the process of purchasing new applicators that are compatible with MRI to offer this use option as well as interstitial needles.  Planning methods that use these applicators were also covered in the lectures with hints and tips to overcome common pitfalls.

I was apprehensive because it was an online course, but it exceeded my expectations! The learning materials that were provided are invaluable: in particular, the pre-recorded lectures on the key learning objectives. The timely support and feedback that was offered by the tutors was exceptional, with regular feedback on homework as well as offline support. The flexibility of the blended-learning approach was ideal as it allowed me to pick up my learning as and when it suited me. The delivery of the course was second-to-none; even with the minor technical difficulties that we faced, the amount of support that was offered made up for the lack of face-to-face moments that we are all so used to. 

I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is looking to develop their knowledge in this field. It is a one-stop-shop to learning all that you need, from basic physics and dose planning to radiobiological models to combined doses from external beam and brachytherapy. This course has both depth and breadth, and it is up to the learner to either skim the surface or plunge into it depending on your time and availability.  


Sofia Parveen
Brachytherapy lead dosimetrist
University Hospital Birmingham
Birmingham, England