By Thomas J. Deeley (Auth.)
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Additional resources for Principles of Radiation Therapy
The amount of stray radiation outside the primary beam is greater and they thus have certain limitations in use. Linear Accelerators These machines produce x-rays at very high energies—in clinical practice most machines operate at between 4 and 8 million volts. Many models can also produce an electron beam for external use if the target is removed from the stream of electrons. The machines are complex masses of sophisticated electronics and thus need expert attention from physicists and technicians.
Seven fields, tumour dose 140 per cent-a higher dose is now received by the tumour than on the skin surface 52 THE TREATMENT OF DISEASES USING EXTERNAL BEAM THERAPY chest as a gap must be left between each field to avoid increased dose on the skin due to scattered radiation from an adjacent field. With 7 fields a large volume of the chest is irradiated, the centre reaching a high dose (140 per cent) which falls off peripherally to 100 per cent along each field to the skin surface. There is thus a risk of damage to a large volume of normal tissue.
Preparation of the patient also demands attention to psychological problems; any fears must be allayed, questions asked should be answered fully and truthfully, the procedures carefully explained and hope of cure accentuated. Many patients associate malignant disease with a hopeless prognosis; sometimes, more than death they fear the possibility of suffering, or the likelihood that they will live only to suffer later or to end up useless, a vegetable—unloved and unwanted. They may fear dying more than they fear death.
Principles of Radiation Therapy by Thomas J. Deeley (Auth.)