Close Menu

Radiation Therapy 1: Physics, Equipment and Applications

Semester 1

This course explores the principles and practices of modern radiotherapy procedures. Students are introduced to the main equipment utilized in external beam radiation therapy and the fundamentals of treatment using photon and electron beams. Radiotherapy is one of the major treatment options in cancer management. In accordance with modern data and practices, 50% of patients should receive radiotherapy at least once during the treatment of their cancer. Together with surgery and chemotherapy radiotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of 40% of
those patients who are cured of their cancer. Radiotherapy is also a highly effective treatment option for palliation and symptom control in cases of advanced or recurrent cancer. This is a core course for the qualification of clinical medical physicists.


Overview of clinical radiotherapy and radiobiological basis
o Radiation therapy equipment
o Basic photon radiation therapy
o Basic electron radiation therapy
o Patient setup, including positioning and immobilization
o Simulation, virtual simulation, digitally reconstructed radiographs (DRRs)
o Dosimetric functions and basic treatment planning
o Dose calculation algorithms and heterogeneity corrections
o Prescribing, recording and reporting according to the ICRU Reports 50, 62 and 83

  • Coursework: 50%
    • Two in-course tests (2 x 1 hour) 20%
    • Three Practical Exercises 30%
  • Final Exam: 50%
    • One Three-hour written paper 50%
Learning Objectives: 

On successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
1. Apply the clinical radiotherapy process and procedures
2. Describe the principles and functions of the main equipment used in radiotherapy
3. Discuss the purpose, advantages and challenges of a range of beam modifiers and treatment techniques in modern radiotherapy.
4. Discuss the purpose, advantages and challenges of a range of devices and methods used for patient and tumour localization.
5. Implement a range of external beam treatment techniques.
6. Apply methods of monitoring and controlling sources and levels of uncertainty in geometry and dose during patient treatment delivery.
7. Perform basic radiotherapy treatment planning and dose calculation.

Course Code: 
3 Credits
Level 1
Top of Page