PHYSICS 7551 - Radiotherapy Physics
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020
General Course Information
Course Code PHYSICS 7551 Course Radiotherapy Physics Coordinating Unit School of Physical Sciences Term Semester 1 Level Postgraduate Coursework Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 2 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Assumed Knowledge PHYSICS 7011 Course Description Radiation therapy involves the therapeutic use of controlled doses of radiation for cancer treatment in hospitals. This reading-tutorial course consists of 24 modules covering various aspects of Radiotherapy Physics.
The major topic areas include: Introduction and a Radiobiological Basis for Radiotherapy, Radiation Dosimetry, Dose Calibration Protocols, Equipment in Radiotherapy, Radiotherapy Prescription and Treatment Planning, Dose Calculation, Radiotherapy Treatment Techniques, Advanced Topics in Radiotherapy.
Course Coordinator: Dr Alexandre Santos
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning OutcomesOn completion of this course, students should be able to:
1 Describe the radiobiological basis for radiotherapy; 2 Explain the principles of radiotherapy equipment; 3 Define the characteristics of clinical beams and their measurement; 4 Describe how dose produced by radiation sources can be quantified by measurement if ionization charge; 5 Understand the principles of dose calculation; 6 Understand the need for and principles of quality control of equipment in radiotherapy; 7 Describe the use of sealed and unsealed sources in radiotherapy; 8 Discuss a range of radiotherapy treatment techniques; 9 Discuss sources of uncertainties and their potential impact in radiotherapy.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Deep discipline knowledge
- informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
- acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
- accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
1-9 Critical thinking and problem solving
- steeped in research methods and rigor
- based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
- demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
2,6,9 Teamwork and communication skills
- developed from, with, and via the SGDE
- honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
- encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
1-4,7-9 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
3,6,8,9 Intercultural and ethical competency
- adept at operating in other cultures
- comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
- Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
- demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
1,6,9 Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
- open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
- able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
- H. E. Johns and J. R. Cunningham, The Physics of Radiology, 4th edition, Thomas, Illinois, USA, 1983.
- F. Khan, Radiotherapy Physics, 4th edition, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 2010.
- E. B. Podgorsak, (Editor), Radiation Oncology Physics: A Handbook for Teachers and Students, IAEA (2005).
- D. Greene and P.C. Williams, Linear Accelerators for Radiation Therapy, 2nd edition , IOP (1997).
- P. Hoskin and C. Coyle (ed), Radiotherapy in Practice: Brachytherapy, Oxford University Press, (2005).
- F.M. Khan and R.A. Potish, Treatment Planning in Radiation Oncology, Williams and Wilkins, (1998).
- P. Metclafe, T. Kron and P. Hoban, The Physics of Radiotherapy X-Rays from Linear Accelerators, Medical Physics Publishing, Madison (1997).
- J. van Dyk, The Modern Technology of Radiation Oncology – A Compendium for Medical Physicists and Radiation Oncologists, Medical Physics Publishing, (2005).
- S. Webb, The Physics of Conformal Radiotherapy – Advances in Technology, IoP Publishing, (1997).
- S Webb, The Physics of Three-Dimensional Radiation Therapy, IoP Publishing, (2001).
- J. R. Williams & D. I. Thwaites Radiotherapy Physics in Practice 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, (2000)
- Students are required to access reading material from MyUni throughout the semester.
- External students are required to attend workshops via audio-visual internet link.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesStudents are provided with reading material prior to a weekly 2 hour workshop. Students are expected to have completed the reading material and answered questions related to the reading material before each workshop. Students are also encouraged to provide feedback on difficult or interesting material. External students are able to connect to the workshop via Blackboard Collaborate. Workshops are designed to be interactive, so that challenging concepts can be discussed in a group setting.
Several practical exercises will be planned through the course. External students working in a radiotherapy department will be expected to perform the practicals under the supervision of an onsite supervisor. The practicals are not assessable, but are designed to give students practical experience in radiotherapy departments.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
Learning Activities SummaryThe course content will include the following:
1. Introduction and Radiobiological Basis of Radiotherapy
2. Review of Radiation Physics for Radiotherapy
3. Dosimetric Quantities and Cavity Theory
4. Calculation of Absorbed Dose from Measurements of Charge Using Calibrated Ionization Chambers
5. Calibration Protocols
6. Radiotherapy Treatment Machines I: X-ray tubes and Co-60 units
7. Radiotherapy Treatment Machines II: Medical Electron Linear Accelerators
8. Linac Acceptance Testing, Commissioning and QA
9. Radiotherapy Treatment Simulation, Prescribing and Reporting
10. Simple Photon Treatment Planning Techniques
11. Computerised Photon Treatment Planning Systems and Commissioning
12. Photon Dose Calculation in Treatment Planning Systems
13. Treatment Plan Assessment and Biological Models in Radiotherapy Planning
14. Conventional Photon Treatment Techniques
15. Specialised Photon Treatment Techniques
16. Electron Planning and Treatment Techniques
17. Brachytherapy: Treatment Techniques and Devices
18. Brachytherapy: Source Calibration and Dose Calculation
19. Unsealed source therapy
21. Image Guided Radiotherapy
22. Uncertainties in Radiotherapy and Treatment Delivery Verification
23. Clinical Trials in Radiotherapy
24. Review of Novel Radiotherapy Techniques
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Type of assessment
Percentage of total assessment
Approx Timing of assessment
Objectives being assesses/achieved
Workshop preparation Formative and Summative 10% No Weeks 1-12 1 - 9 Assignments Formative and Summative 40% No Weeks 3,6,9,12 1 - 9 Final Examination Summative 50% No 1 - 9
Assessment DetailWorkshop preparation
Workshops will be held weekly. Before each workshop, students work through the relevant course material, prepare answers to the embedded questions, and identify aspects which require further explanation. Grading of the short answer preparation work is based on the thought process demonstrated by the student, rather than the correctness of answers.
The standard assessment consists of 4 assignments. Assignments consist of a combination of between 5 and 10 short answer and numerical questions. Each assignment is of equal weighting.
One 3 hour exam is used to assess the understanding of and ability to use the material. The exam consists of a combination of short answer and numerical questions.
SubmissionExtensions for Assessment Tasks
Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a replacement examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Coordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time.
Penalty for Late Submission of Assessment Tasks
If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
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