About this book
Radiation Oncology: A Physicist's-Eye View was written for both physicists and medical oncologists with the aim of helping them approach the use of radiation in the treatment of cancer with understanding, confidence, and imagination. The book will let practitioners in one field understand the problems of, and find solutions for, practitioners in the other. It will help them to know "why" certain approaches are fruitful while, at the same time, encouraging them to ask the question "Why not?" in the face of assertions that some proposal of theirs is impractical, unreasonable, or impossible. Unlike a textbook, formal and complete developments of the topics are not among the goals. Instead, the reader will develop a foundation for understanding what the author has found to be matters of importance in radiation oncology during over thirty years of experience. Presentations cover, in largely non-technical language, the principal physical and biological aspects of radiation treatment and address practical clinical considerations in planning and delivering therapy. The importance of the assessment of uncertainties is emphasized. Topics include: an overview of the physics of the interactions of radiation with matter; the definition of the goals and the design of radiation therapy approaches; living with uncertainty; biophysical models of radiation damage; computer-based optimization of treatments; and proton therapy. Formulae and quantitation in general have been avoided in the belief that an understanding of the majority of important medical and biological issues in radiation oncology generally cannot be achieved through mathematical relationships. This unique and highly readable book will be indispensable both to beginners and to those with experience in either medical physics or radiation oncology.
The author, who is Professor of Radiation Oncology Emeritus at Harvard Medical School, was an early pioneer in the development of image-based treatment planning and has been responsible for developing and putting into clinical practice such widely used tools as: digitally reconstructed radiographs, dose-volume histograms, and beam’s-eye view and has been a leader in the development of proton beam therapy.