Medical Event Criteria in Prostate Seed Implant / Prostate Brachytherapy

September 15, 2009 · Posted in Misadministration · 1 Comment 

Prostate brachytherapy implant is not going to be perfect all the time. The routine way to check the accuracy of an implant is to obtain a CT scan of the prostate after the implant, then run a post-treatment plan and compare it with the pre-treatment plan. Discrepancy in the delivered dose to the prostate (as well as to the surrounding organs) between the post and pre-plans could create a medical event or misadministration if one or both of the following NRC rules are not met: Read more

“Quality” Terms You Should Know As A Physicist

September 9, 2009 · Posted in Miscellaneous · Comment 

At a recent staff meeting, I realized that there are certain “quality” terms that are thrown around often in our line of work. You know which words I’m talking about: quality assurance, quality control, quality improvement, etc…Although we hear and use them often, I would bet few people know their exact definitions. Knowing their precise definitions is important to avoid using them incorrectly in a meeting or during a conversation with the boss, colleague or administrative staff. Being able to use these terms correctly is imperative in demonstrating our depth and level of knowledge concerning the subject matter. Here are the terms and their definitions as supplied by Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology 48 (2003) 1-17: Read more

A Reader’s Question: Losing CAMPEP Accreditation?

September 7, 2009 · Posted in Education / Training · 2 Comments 

This past weekend, a reader sent in the following email. Since the question posed in the letter bears relevance to almost every graduate student studying medical physics, I am publishing the contents of the letter with my response (with the writer’s permission):

Have you ever heard of a school losing CAMPEP accreditation? I am concerned about an institution losing its accreditation, which would not be a very good thing, especially for those people who are intending to take the first part of the ABR exam next year and possibly find a job by June 2010…

Our response: The CAMPEP accreditation–like any other type of accreditation–is given only for a fixed period of time. After that period, the institution goes through a process of re-accreditation to demonstrate continued fulfillment of the standards and requirements set forth by CAMPEP. Read more

Two Studies on the Effectiveness of Prostate Seed Implant over Prostatectomy

September 2, 2009 · Posted in Research · Comment 

blueribbonSeptember is National Prostate Cancer Awareness month, and what better timing for the release of two independent studies boosting the effectiveness of brachytherapy (radiation seed implants) as a modality for prostate cancer treatment. The two studies were done by The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Chicago and The Taussig Cancer Center at Cleveland Clinic. Is brachytherapy the best treatment for prostate cancer? That’s still up for debate. It is important to note that the studies were done in comparison to surgery (prostatectomy) and not to external beam radiation. In fact, the researchers at The Taussig Cancer Center said that brachytherapy was equally successful as external beam radiation for treatment of low-risk patients. Therefore, there is still no clear consensus on choosing brachytherapy over external beam radiation (i.e. IMRT technique) and vice-versa. However, considering brachytherapy and external beam radiation are equally successful techniques for early prostate cancer survival, as researchers in this study say, to me external beam radiation, such as IMRT, is more favorable. External beam IMRT technique is non-invasive–there is no pain, no incisions and no blood loss.

Read full articles on the two brachytherapy studies here and here.

Just as an aside, everyone knows that the pink ribbon is the symbol for breast cancer awareness, but did you know that the blue ribbon is the universal symbol of prostate cancer awareness?

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