’Radiotherapy is estimated to contribute to 40% of cases where a cancer is cured’
Radiation Physics supports radiotherapy provided by Hull & East Yorkshire Hospitals to a population of around 1.2 million living in East Yorkshire, northern Lincolnshire and parts of North Yorkshire.
For patient information please refer to the Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust Website.
The Radiotherapy Physics group within Radiation Physics are scientific and technical staff who apply the principles of physics to optimise and develop radiotherapy treatments, usually to treat cancer.
We are a team of Physicists (registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)), Dosimetrists and Technicians; all of whom undergo extensive training. Dosimetrists are primarily involved in generating bespoke and optimal patient treatment plans and immobilisation devices. Technicians ensure our highly sophisticated equipment is functional and operating safely. Physicists are involved in routine checks as well as service development. We also have a group of Oncology Information System specialists who write software and look after our extensive databases.
With this team of scientific and dedicated support staff we are able to ensure that radiotherapy is one of the safest and most tightly controlled areas of medicine.
More information on the Roles of the Scientist and
Technologist in Radiotherapy Physics is available from the Institure of Physics & Engineering in Medicine (IPEM).
The Eclipse™ Treatment Planning System is used by dosimetrists and physicists to create individualised radiotherapy treatments. Patients are CT scanned in the position they will be in for daily treatment and we use the scan to create an optimal plan specifically for them. This involves ensuring that the Planning Target Volume (the area that needs treating which is drawn by the Clinician) receives the required prescription radiation dose without overdosing surrounding organs at risk, aiming to reduce short and long term side effects.We plan using different treatment techniques including 3D Conformal, VMAT, Sliding Window IMRT and SABR.
It is essential that all equipment used in radiotherapy is functioning at the highest level of accuracy and safety. Physicists ensure that our equipment is compared regularly with National Physics Laboratory reference doses. We frequently test our systems and even design new methods to detect potential problems long before they have any clinical impact.
We are in the process of implementing FFF beam for treating stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) lung cancer patients. This will allow to deliver treatments at a faster rate (approximately 2.5 to 4 times faster) compared to the current flattened beam treatments, reducing the time patients are required to stay in the treatment position making the treatments more tolerable.
Thoracic tumours move with breathing leading to a number of issues. 4D CT scanning plays an important role to generate personalised target volumes. The VMAT technique provides highly conformal plans helping to minimise organs at risk doses (OAR) and hence reduce side effects and toxicities. This was implemented for lower third and gastro-oesophageal junction (GOJ) patients recently in 2016.
Deep inspiration breath-hold (DIBH) is an effective method of limiting radiation exposure to the heart and lungs. In addition, it eliminates movement caused by breathing. It was implemented locally for treating patients with left-sided breast cancer in 2016.
Radiotherapy Clinical Trials are complex because data is recorded from multiple centres and has to be correctly interpreted to give high quality results. As a team we adopt new planning methods and provide large portfolios of evidence and audits in order for our patients to be allowed to participate in radiotherapy clinical trials. This also includes performing test plans and measuring radiation doses on our equipment.
Other current projects include;
ADDRESSRadiation Physics DepartmentQueen's Centre for Oncology & HaematologyCastle Hill HospitalCottinghamEast YorkshireHU16 5JQU.K.