RADIATION ONCOLOGY IS PHYSICS
This 5-part animated web series provides a comprehensive overview of most of the interesting physics involved in radiation oncology. The lessons are 5 to 8 minutes long and are designed to present clinicians with practical physics information, in a condensed format. The course is aimed at radiation oncology residents, but was created with all radiation oncology trainees in mind.
LESSON 1: THE BIG PICTURE
This lesson provides an overview of how linear accelerators generate electrons and x-rays to treat cancer cells. Bremsstrahlung radiation, x-ray interactions, oxygen free radicals and DNA double-strand breaks are all introduced in this overview of the physics of radiation oncology.
LESSON 2: X-RAY INTERACTIONS
This lesson describes how high energy x-rays interact with matter and what governs each type of interaction. Atomic structure, the photoelectric effect, the Compton effect and pair production are all introduced in this detailed description of x-ray interactions.
LESSON 3: ELECTRON Interactions
This lesson illustrates how electrons interact with matter after being liberated by high energy x-rays. Bremsstrahlung radiation is revisited to explain x-ray production, and ionization is discussed to introduce how energy is transferred from electrons to the medium.
Lesson 4: Dose Deposition
This lesson describes how x-ray and electron interactions result in absorbed dose in patients. Ion pairs, kerma and dose are all explained, and the concepts of percent depth dose and tissue-maximum ratio are introduced in this detailed description of dose deposition.
Lesson 5: Dosimetry and MU Calcs
The final lesson relies on the concepts discussed in the previous lectures to explain the basics of dosimetry and monitor unit calculations. Field size, source-to-surface distance and dose deposition are all discussed to provide an overview of how treatment plans are created.