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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 334

Radiation Oncology: A Physicist's-Eye View

Chief Radiation Oncologist, Department of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Balabhai Nanavati Hospital, S.V. Road, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai - 400 056, India

Date of Web Publication11-Feb-2010

Correspondence Address:
Nagraj G Huilgol
Chief Radiation Oncologist, Department of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Balabhai Nanavati Hospital, S.V. Road, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai - 400 056
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Huilgol NG. Radiation Oncology: A Physicist's-Eye View. J Can Res Ther 2009;5:334

How to cite this URL:
Huilgol NG. Radiation Oncology: A Physicist's-Eye View. J Can Res Ther [serial online] 2009 [cited 2021 Sep 23];5:334. Available from: https://www.cancerjournal.net/text.asp?2009/5/4/334/59894

Editor: M. Goitein

Publishers: The Micheal Goitein Book Publisher is Springer + Business Media, L.L.C

Cost: Rs 5,273.52/- INR

Number of pages: 330

Springer, New York

This is a brief description (not a review) of my book "Radiation Oncology: A Physicist's-Eye View," which is not a textbook. It is a description of the basic steps in planning and delivering external-beam radiation therapy and written in a straightforward conversational style with almost no equations or complex technical details. It is intended to provide an overview and framework to understand radiation therapy. As such, it is a top-level description which needs to be supplemented by more formal texts to be fully conversant with the physical aspects of the discipline of radiation oncology.

A heavy emphasis is placed on understanding and taking into account uncertainties in the process of planning and delivering therapy. Two chapters are devoted to uncertainty analysis. It is argued that uncertainties must be quantitatively appreciated so that the inevitable risks which accompany any medical intervention can be minimized.

Imaging has always been important in planning radiation treatment and with the excellent imaging modalities available now, it is becoming increasingly so. A chapter is devoted to describing the various forms of imaging and their use. Radiation dose is the quantity which physicists tend to deal with. However, a chapter is devoted to arguing that dose is only a surrogate for what is of importance to the patient, namely, the biological impact of the radiation he or she receives. In this context, the current biophysical models of dose-volume effects are reviewed.

The planning of high-energy X-ray therapy is described in a sequence of chapters devoted to the: design of a single beam; management of patient motion; "manual" design of a treatment plan; methods to assess a plan and to compare plans and finally, the computer-driven optimization of a plan, particularly in the context of developing plans for intensity-modulated radiation therapy.

Proton therapy has recently attracted much wider interest than hitherto and two chapters are devoted to the planning and delivery of proton beam therapy. The properties of protons are described, and a review of the differences in proton treatments and comparisons with X-ray treatments, need to be planned.

This book addresses some fairly complex subjects such as plan optimization, but is written at a level which should be understandable by the technically educated layman or a radiation/oncologist/physicist at the beginning of his/her training, as well as by experienced practitioners. It is my hope that it will give them an overview of the subject which will increase both their understanding and enjoyment of it.

The book by Goitein is superbly written in prose, as elegant as any classic novel. It is replete with information. I am glad I ordered the book.


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