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Volume 2, Number 3, 1997

A Belarusian protocol for the dosimetry of high energy photon beams

Y. Nietsetski, I. Tarutin


Since 1980 a number of national and international protocols and codes of practice for the dosimetry of photon and electron beams with energies above 1 MeV have been published in different countries. In 1987, the IAEA had published "An International Code of Practice" for such measurements. In all these protocols, the formalism is based on an exposure or air kerma calibration of user's ionization chambers in 60Co beams. For the determination of the absorbed dose in water by dosimeters with ionization chambers it is necessary to apply some correction factors for dosimeter readings.
Great efforts have recently been spent in different countries for more accurate definition of the values for all factors that have to be taken into account during precision measurements. lt should be noted that these corrections must be used during certification of clinical dosimeters in National certification or standardization centers, in units of exposure or air kerma.
It is evident that National protocols must be very similar to International protocols, in particular, to the IAEA International Code of Practice, issued in 1987. Moreover, it is possible to use the recommended values for different correction and conversion factors and to be sure their quality. Unification of the protocols allows us to conduct international intercomparisons the results of dose measurements and treatment of patients.
The IAEA International Code of Practice. as well as national protocols of the USA and Scandinavian countries offer to users more free choice of different ionization chambers and the possibility of determining all the correction and conversion factors separately. On the other hand, in the English national protocol only a single conversion factor is used that is a combination of all the necessary corrections. Such a simple approach has been adopted in a num of Western Europe countries (the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, etc.). Moreover, in these protocols a limited number of ionization chambers are recommended as reference chambers. That is why it is possible to eliminate errors during correction of the results of measurements, involved with the necessity of the values from a number of chambers.
Now we are developing Belarusian national protocols for the absorbed dose measurements for all kinds of radiation therapy with high energy photons and electrons. They are the four codes of practice for: photons with the energy generated above 1 MV, photons with the energy generated below 1 MV, electrons with the energy above 1 MeV, and photons used in brachytherapy.
From our point of view, a single conversion factor approach should be adopted in the Republic of Belarus. Under the existing economic conditions the limitation of the used ionization chambers will result in the reduction of expenses for dosimetric equipment and will make the task of more accurate dosimetry easier for users.
The application of new national dosimetric protocols in oncological clinics of the Belarus will allow us to reduce errors in dose delivered to patients and to improve the results of treatment.
As an example of the result of the result of our work, one of the protocols for high energy photon beams is presented below.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 1997; 2(3) : 83-89

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