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The goal of external-beam radiotherapy is to provide precise dose localisation in the treatment volume of the target with minimal damage to the surrounding normal tissue. Ion beams, such as protons and carbon ions, provide excellent dose distributions due primarily to their finite range, allowing a significant reduction of undesired exposure of normal tissue. Careful treatment planning is required for the given type and localisation of the tumour to be treated in order to maximise treatment efficiency and minimise the dose to normal tissue. Radiation exposure in outof- field volumes arises from secondary neutrons and photons, particle fragments, and photons from activated materials. These unavoidable doses should be considered from the standpoint of radiological protection of the patient. Radiological protection of medical staff at ion beam radiotherapy facilities requires special attention. Appropriate management and control are required for the therapeutic equipment and the air in the treatment room that can be activated by the particle beam and its secondaries. Radiological protection and safety management should always conform with regulatory requirements. The current regulations for occupational exposures in photon radiotherapy are applicable to ion beam radiotherapy with protons or carbon ions. However, ion beam radiotherapy requires a more complex treatment system than conventional radiotherapy, and appropriate training of staff and suitable quality assurance programmes are recommended to avoid possible accidental exposure of patients, to minimise unnecessary doses to normal tissue, and to minimise radiation exposure of staff. © 2015, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Annals of the ICRP

Publication Date





5 - 113