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From The CriticsReviewer: Paul Jursinic, PhD (Medical College of Wisconsin)
Description: This book presents physics principles and technological information about the following radiation therapy equipment: simulators, linear accelerators, cobalt-60 machines, gamma knife radiosurgery, kilovoltage x-ray units, low dose-rate sealed radioactive sources, and high dose-rate afterloading equipment. Chapters are also devoted to the principles of radiation protection and its corresponding legislation, the calculation of absorbed dose, and the elements of quality assurance.
Purpose: The purpose is to present the principles of physics and the essentials of technology of modern radiation therapy equipment that are not addressed in current books at a level and depth suitable for an undergraduate radiotherapy technologist. Placing these concepts in a single, well witten book is a valuable objective that is accomplished in this work.
Audience: The writing style and scope of subject matter make this book a useful reference for a undergraduate radiation therapist or any member of the cancer team who may desire to better understand the recent advances in the technology of radiation therapy equipment.
Features: The physical principles that underlie an understanding of each piece of equipment under consideration are introduced as needed and are not segregated into a separate chapter. This is a useful approach that connects the physics directly to its clinical significance. The discussion on measuring ionizing radiation gives a thorough explanation of devices such as why parallel-plate ion chambers are best used to measure low energy x-rays and electrons. The chapter on linear accelerators presents a clear explanation of the physics and electronics involved in the generation of high-energy microwaves and their use for producing radiation in the megavoltage energy range. The discussion of calculation of absorbed dose is weak. For example, it does not separate the effects of collimator setting on machine output from the effects of field size at the patient on the radiation scattered in the patient. The field size at the patient can be set by shielding blocks quite independently of linear accelerator collimator settings. The book does not discuss beam intensity modulation by wedges, compensators, or multileaf collimators. Since technology that supports intensity modulation is rapidly entering the clinic, this is a subject that best would have been included in the book.
Assessment: The book is well written in an interesting and easy to understand style. The diagrams, technological drawings, and graphs are presented logically and greatly assist the communication of concepts. The book fills a void in not being too complex for an undergraduate level audience.