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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David Chang, MD (Indiana University School of Medicine)
Description: This is a detailed reference on treatment planning techniques in radiation oncology, with theoretical and practical discussions illustrated with many figures and images. This necessary update of a 2007 edition, given the rapid technological advances in the field, adds several chapters focused on newer techniques including stereotactic radiotherapy, image-guided radiotherapy, and proton beam therapy.
Purpose: It is intended to present a broad perspective of treatment planning with a high level of detail.
Audience: The preface states that the audience includes the "radiation oncologist, medical physicist, therapist, and dosimetrist." While not every chapter is targeted at this broad audience, the book as a whole succeeds in meeting its objectives. Some chapters are heavily theoretical while others are very practical.
Features: The book is separated into two sections with very different intents and styles. Section I, on the physics and biology of treatment planning, is heavily weighted toward theory, equations, algorithms, and schematics. It appears to be directed at physicists and physicians wishing to learn about the details of simulation, planning, and quality assurance. Most chapters do a good job of illustrating mathematical points with many figures and images. Section II, on treatment planning for specific cancers, is very practical in nature and describes the authors' clinical experience in simulation and treatment. This section appears to be directed at therapists, dosimetrists, and physicians. What makes this book different from the many clinical radiation oncology textbooks out there is that it presents the information in a cookbook fashion, listing step-by-step instructions on patient setup, simulation, contouring, beam angles and apertures, supportive care, and toxicities of treatment. In contrast to other clinical references, it greatly deemphasizes the "why" of radiotherapy in favor of the "how." This approach is reader-friendly for new trainees and individuals seeking to learn an unfamiliar treatment technique.
Assessment: This is a unique book in its focus on treatment planning considerations, and it does so from multiple angles. The topics range from detailed descriptions of optimization algorithms to a paragraph on how to copy skin marks with clear plastic tape and a pen. All of the chapters contain plentiful color images. One drawback is the variable level of detail spent on target volume delineation. Some chapters have contouring atlas type images and a detailed discussion of the rationale behind including or excluding elective volumes. Other chapters have only a brief description of clinical target volumes. That said, the writing and figures overall are of high quality, and this book seems like a useful reference for individuals from widely differing backgrounds and levels of expertise.