Impact of imaging on radiotherapy

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Published: 28 Oct 2011
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Mirjam Mast – Radiotherapy Centre West, The Hague, Netherlands

Discussing her role in the field of radiation therapy and the upcoming meeting ESTRO 31 in Barcelona, Dr Mast highlights how interdisciplinary meetings offer the chance for oncologist to meet and share thoughts on specialised fields.

With radiation oncology there is a need for collaboration as advancements in imaging have greatly changed treatment and delivery in regards to locating tumours, the correct course of treatment and the effectiveness of treatment.

European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress (EMCC) 2011, 23-27 September, Stockholm

Impact of imaging on radiotherapy

Mirjam Mast – Radiotherapy Centre West, The Hague, Netherlands

Mirjam Mast, thank you very much for just telling us a little bit about the ESTRO meeting in Barcelona in May next year, May 2012, right?

Yes, exactly.

What’s so special about it?

Because I represent radiation therapists and I think what’s really important is that they, of course, meet each other because for radiation therapists I think it’s really difficult to find people in Europe and ESTRO is the place where you can meet colleagues and get together and talk about your specialties and this is really great for radiation therapists.

And you’re doing interdisciplinary meetings within the ESTRO meeting, so you’ve got meetings where you’re there with the radiation oncologists, with the medical physics people. You all speak different languages, how are you going to manage?

We all speak or try to speak English, of course, but for some persons it’s more easy than for others but I think we can help each other out. What we find in radiation oncology is that we work together, as you said, the radiation therapists, the radiation oncologists, the clinical physicists and we are a team and you can notice this on the ESTRO Congress as well. For instance, the radiation therapists position the patient on the linear accelerator or they’re responsible for that part and still you need, of course, the radiation oncologist and you have to get together and find the best way to treat a patient. Most of the time we have interdisciplinary meetings and come together about these topics and I think it’s really positive.

How is imaging changing your job?

Tremendously. What’s really important, as I said before, is the positioning part, it’s the imaging on the linear accelerator but also for the radiation oncologist because when you do not know where the tumour is, how are you supposed to treat it right? So you see that the MRI and the PET CT are offering a lot of progress in defining the tumour. After that, of course, we have the treatment planning and finally the treatment on the linear accelerator with the imaging on board.

And the quality control checks and making sure that everything stays the same?

Of course, yes exactly.

So that’s very good indeed. In short, you would urge your colleagues to come to Barcelona?

Yes of course, and I think we have… I hope it will be a nice debate on the positioning part and together with radiation oncologists and the physicists because it’s good to know where do we stand and who is responsible for what part in the whole treatment, the whole course the treatment takes over the department. So it’s really good to debate and of course we focus on how to manage with the elderly patient because it’s a really special… Informing an older patient is really difficult, you have to do it in another way. So these topics will come also into an interdisciplinary meeting, altogether.

So you’re urging people to come to Barcelona?

Yes. Barcelona is also nice, of course, a lot of sun; I come from Holland so it’s a lot of time that it’s raining. Besides that it’s really great to be there and join and get together and discuss with your colleagues, yes.

So come to ESTRO, May, Barcelona.

Yes, May 2012 Barcelona.

Thank you very much indeed.