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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 126-134

Radiation safety issues relevant to proton therapy and radioisotope production medical cyclotrons

West German Proton Therapy Centre Essen (WPE gGmbH), Hufelandsrasse 55, D-45147 Essen, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Bhaskar Mukherjee
West German Proton Therapy Centre Essen (WPE gGmbH), Hufelandsrasse 55, D-45147 Essen
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-0464.117668

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Medical cyclotrons are now constructed as turnkey facilities at nuclear medicine clinics, specialised particle therapy facilities and radioisotope production centres. Most medical cyclotrons usually accelerate protons to high energies and could be divided mainly in two categories: (a) Low energy (E P = 15-30 MeV) machines, dedicated for medical positron emission tomography and single photon emission computer tomography radioisotope production and (b) High energy (E P = 100-250 MeV) machines, predominantly used for radiotherapy of malignant tumours. Parasitic gamma and neutron radiation are produced during the operation of medical cyclotrons. Furthermore, high level of gamma radiation produced by the activated cyclotron components could impose radiation exposure to maintenance crew. Hence, radiation safety is imperative to safe and reliable operation of medical cyclotron facilities. A sound operational health physics procedure assures the minimisation of radiation exposure to patients and members of the public abiding the regulatory guidelines. This paper highlights the important radiation safety aspects related to safe operation of proton therapy and radioisotope production medical cyclotrons.

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