Radiotherapy physics

We work closely with the radiotherapy department (in cancer care), providing technical and scientific support. This includes

  • supporting the brachytherapy service, including high dose rate MR image guided gynaecological treatments and ultrasound guided high dose rate and seed brachytherapy for prostate treatments
  • working with the intraoperative radiotherapy service using Mobetron mobile linac to deliver electron treatments in theatre
  • supporting radiotherapy at Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust through a physics partnership group.

We advise on the design and planning of expansion and modernisation of the radiotherapy service, and work closely with procurement when new equipment or services are required.

Our role

Effective radiotherapy depends on targeting radiation on tumour tissue, while minimising the healthy tissue included in the treatment area. Various teams and processes are involved in helping to deliver this.

  • The mould room team customise equipment to help patients maintain their position during treatment. As the first point of contact, they also help to put patients at ease and make sure they understand what happens next.
  • Our quality assurance team help to put new equipment safely into use, with medical physics experts working to make sure everything is at optimal performance level. We carry out regular quality control on our equipment during its lifetime.
  • Regular planned maintenance on equipment is carried out by our electronics group. They also work efficiently to address issues when they develop to keep equipment downtime to a minimum.
  • Our dosimetrists and scientists produce customised treatment plans for each patient based on 3D anatomy modelled from multi-modality images. We use this for external beam and brachytherapy patients.
  • All treatments plans are independently checked using independent calculations (undertaken using in-house written software solutions) and measurement methods.
  • New and improved techniques for delivering treatment to maximise its effectiveness and minimise side effects are developed and adopted by our dosimetrists and scientists.
  • Our admin team coordinate our work to make sure patients are treated on time, and within waiting times targets.

Our equipment

We have six linear accelerators delivering a range of radiotherapy treatments including:

  • image guided (IGRT)
  • intensity modulated (IMRT/VMAT)
  • stereotactically guided (SRS/SABR).

Our department has two dedicated wide bore scanners. Treatment planning for external beam treatments is performed on XIO, Monaco or Pinnacle treatment planning systems, while using Prosoma for virtual stimulation.