Treatment Planning

Treatment Planning (dosimetry) is responsible for preparing the treatment prescriptions for patients receiving radiation therapy by quantitatively analyzing the energy distribution from the ionizing radiation.

Treatment Planning personnel may attend the preliminary simulation or CT-simulation of the patient, consult with the Radiation Oncologist about specific requirements for the patient's treatment plan, and record data to establish the positioning information for the patient's daily treatment setup.

Cross-sectional information for the area to be treated is gathered by direct measurement or by data acquisition on the CT-simulator. The data is then transferred to a treatment planning computer which has the treatment machine data installed on a data base. The treatment plan can be generated in a 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional calculation mode.

Details of the treatment plan, positioning, and dose from each machine angle are calculated by the Dosimetrist and checked by a Medical Physicist. Any blocking required for the treatment plan is manufactured by the Mould Room. The treatment plan generated needs the approval of the Radiation Oncologist. A dose prescription is written and signed by the Radiation Oncologist.

Dosimetrists require a high level of expertise to design a treatment plan which will adequately treat the tumor while sparing the dose to critical organs. All Dosimetrists in Treatment Planning are Medical Radiation Technologists who are registered in the Radiation Therapist area of practice. They are licensed through the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists, and are registered as required by the Province of Alberta's Health Professionals Act.

As the Cross Cancer Institute is a teaching hospital, Treatment Planning participates in "Physics Week" instruction for Radiation Oncology Residents and provides workshops for Radiation Therapy students. Radiation Therapy students are also rostered through Treatment Planning for one month of hands-on dosimetry training.

Treatment Planning participates in clinical research and various clinical trials by providing planning and other required documentation. (see Medical Physics Research page).

Equipment currently used in various treatment planning processes includes:

  • The Varian Eclipse 3-D treatment planning system
  • The Varian ARIA Radiation Oncology system for patients management
  • RayStation treatment planning System for 2nd checks on linac-MR plans
  • Nucletron Oncentra Planning System (used for brachytherapy only)
  • Variseed Planning used for pulsed dose rate treatments
  • 2 CT-simulators
  • 1.5T and 3T MRI scanners available for target definition
  • Huestis and Par Scientific computers used by the Mould Room
  • Sun Nuclear SunCheck software for secondary checks and pre-treatment QA.

Treatment Planning is staffed by:

  • One Dosimetrist IIIA who oversees the day-to-day activities of Dosimetry/Treatment Planning and Mould Room.
  • Ten Dosimetrist IIAs