Verification of dose calculations in radiotherapy

University dissertation from Umeå : Strålningsvetenskaper

Abstract: External radiotherapy is a common treatment technique for cancer. It has been shown that radiation therapy is a both clinically and economically effective treatment for many types of cancer, even though the equipment is expensive. The technology is in constant evolution and more and more sophisticated and complex techniques are introduced. One of the main tasks for physicists at a radiotherapy department is quality control, i.e. making sure that the treatments are delivered in accordance with the dosimetric intentions. Over dosage of radiation can lead to severe side effects, while under dosage reduces the probability for patient cure.The present thesis is mainly focused on the verification of the calculated dose. Requirements for independent dose calculation software are identified and the procedures using such software are described. In the publications included in the thesis an algorithm specially developed for verification of dose calculations is described and tested. The calculation uncertainties connected with the described algorithm are investigated and modeled. A brief analysis of the quality assurance procedures available and used in external radiotherapy is also included in the thesis.The main conclusion of the thesis is that independent verification of the dose calculations is feasible in an efficient and cost effective quality control system. The independent calculations do not only serve as a protection against accidents, but can also be the basis for comparisons of the dose calculation performance at different clinics.