Dose corrections for inhomogeneities in small field intensity modulated x-ray radiation therapy

Alanah Bergman’s research focuses on the use of high energy x-ray radiation in cancer treatment. Radiation fields are shaped to deliver high doses that conform closely to the shape of the tumour being targeted. A new technique called Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) uses a collimator to fine-tune the shape and intensity of the radiation field. But it is difficult to accurately calculate the dose for small fields, especially when inhomogeneous tissue — such as lung, air or bone — is included in the treatment area. Alanah Bergman is investigating methods for improving dose calculations for x-ray radiation treatment. She will quantify errors in dose calculations and modify the calculations to improve their accuracy. Results from the study could provide radiation oncologists with better tools for making treatment decisions and ultimately benefit patients receiving radiation therapy for cancer, particularly cancers of the head/neck, lung and breast.