medical physicist article

Discussion in 'Radiation Oncology' started by doctalaughs, Mar 5, 2004.

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  1. doctalaughs

    doctalaughs Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2003
    Check this article out:

    I was wondering if ppl know much about the medical physicist and opinion on this article. How many years do they train and what kind of degree do they get? What is the relationship like between them and radiation oncologists in today's practice - are they subordinates to the MD or equals? How do you see their roles evolving in the future?
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  3. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    TO say they are subordinates or equals to the MD is sort of the wrong way to look at it. THere are higher degreed professionals. They have some autonomy but are guided by the needs directed by the medical team. MPs can be masters or Doctors of Physics. We work with them very closesly. Their role will take a greater import (they already are essential and we can't work without them) as techniques become more complicated (i.e. IMRT).
  4. Energon

    Energon Nobody Summons Megatron 10+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    thats funny, I just met a medical physicist today and while talking to her the entire time I was wondering what she actually did.
  5. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    this is what they do.

    Aside from calibrating machines and doing QA to make sure we are delivering what we say we are delivering:

    Medical physicists understand both conceptually and mathamatically how our perscriptions work and help us out with this, and QA what we perscribe. That is if I want "X" dose to a particular field, they know the concepts and math that tell them what energy to use, how electron, photon, neutron etc beams would differ in this regard, how changing field size would effect this or adding in blocks. My radiation is a beam with a central axis that diverges. They can confirm dose to a whole field by knowing how to measure does off the axis of the central beam. They understand the different ways to measure dose to a target. They understand that we need to translate our exposure in air into dose absorbed and know different methods for doing this. They know the benefits and diadvantages to different sources and again, the concepts and math behind this. They can tell me the effectiveness of one dose-rate (dose absorbed per unit time) with another.
    In essence, they help us perscribe and check to see that we are getting what we want to the patient where we want it, and not elsewhere.
  6. medhopeful08

    medhopeful08 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 3, 2002
    it seems as if the medical physicist do alot of the work. what are the precise roles of a radiation oncologist then?

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