gms | German Medical Science

48th Meeting of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group

Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG)

28.09. - 03.10.2009, Heidelberg

Radiation Safety Training for Clinical Staff at Proton Centers

Meeting Abstract

  • M. Bussiere - Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA
  • J. McCormack - Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA
  • J. Sisterson - Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA
  • H. Shih - Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA

PTCOG 48. Meeting of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group. Heidelberg, 28.09.-03.10.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09ptcog030

doi: 10.3205/09ptcog030, urn:nbn:de:0183-09ptcog0309

Published: September 24, 2009

© 2009 Bussiere et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



As new proton facilities come on line it is our responsibility to educate staff on the various aspects of radiation safety that are specific to proton therapy. At MGH we have developed a lecture that is mandatory for new therapy staff who may, or may not have been involved in conventional therapy but who are going to be involved at the proton center. This lecture is presented annually as a refresher course for those who continue to work at the proton center. The emphasis of the lecture is to provide a baseline for staff so they feel safe in their environment and enable them to answer simple patient questions.

We start by giving an overview of the facility describing how we generate, guide, shape and deliver protons pointing out the areas of interest to specific staff. Shielding is discussed as well as the interactions of protons with various materials. Regulatory exposure limits as well as typical background exposures from our everyday environment are discussed. Patient and staff exposures from diagnostic pre-treatment imaging are discussed in context of day-to-day practice and facility design. Data is presented on neutron activation levels inside and outside the treatment rooms during beam delivery. Background levels within the treatment rooms are provided as well as activation levels of treatment hardware which is regularly handled by staff such as apertures, range compensators and masks. We complete our lecture by comparing measured occupational exposures of our staff involved in conventional teletherapy and those in the proton center, which in practice are very similar.