The ebook is an updated version of IPEM Report 75, revised to take into account the substantial technical advances in radiotherapy equipment, as well as developments in shielding materials and bunker design, since the original publication in 1997. The editors hope that providing this text in the form of an ebook will help ensure the widest possible circulation, with easy access for cancer centres throughout the world.

"For many years, IPEM reports have been an invaluable and authoritative resource for those working in medical physics and clinical engineering, both in the UK and also worldwide," explained co-editor David Eaton, a lead clinical scientist at Mount Vernon Hospital in the UK. "For example, Report 103 on small field dosimetry was very popular internationally because of its timely and practical guidance. However, shipping a hard copy around the world could be prohibitive to some readers. You only need to look on a typical commuter train to see the number of electronic readers far exceeds printed books. Therefore, this text seemed like an ideal way to launch the new e-book series."

Comprehensive coverage

The ebook brings together contributions from 22 expert authors, including five members of the IPEM working group commissioned to develop the report. These original five, all established members of the UK's radiotherapy physics community, gained much experience in designing radiotherapy facilities during the expansion of the UK's cancer facilities in the late 1990s and early 2000s. IPEM's Radiotherapy Special Interest Group then helped to identify other medical physicists with the specialized knowledge and experience to write chapters or sections covering the new techniques.

The scope of the ebook is comprehensive, starting with equipment procurement and facility design, moving through radiation protection legislation and current clinical practice, to the shielding of linear accelerators, and specialist applications and equipment. "It is aimed to be of value to hospital administrators, architects, constructors and medical physicists, especially radiation protection advisers and MSc students," explained co-editor Patrick Horton, retired head of Medical Physics from the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

This new edition of IPEM Report 75 considers the impact on radiation protection requirements of modern treatment techniques such as intensity-modulated radiotherapy, volumetric-modulated arc therapy, stereotactic body radiotherapy and flattening-filter-free beams. The ebook includes sections covering specialized techniques such as TomoTherapy, Gamma Knife, CyberKnife, kilovoltage therapy and electronic brachytherapy, and also has a chapter on radiation shielding and safety for proton and carbon ion facilities.

"The decision to include an introduction to particle therapy was part of wanting to produce a truly comprehensive report," said Horton. "The chapter on particle therapy provides an introduction to the sources of neutron radiation and their shielding and the many factors that need to be taken into account in designing a centre that will meet clinical developments in this area for many years."

"Particle radiotherapy is an area of rapid growth, with 66 facilities worldwide and 42 more under construction as of the end of 2016," noted Eaton. "In the UK, two NHS units and at least four private centres are under construction, so this is a very timely topic. The report draws on the experience of some of these users to provide a broad review of this application, along with practical advice."

Pointing out that the standards of radiation protection within radiotherapy are already extremely high, Horton says that the ebook will help maintain this situation by providing the latest legal requirements, the most recent physical data, and methods for calculating adequate shielding and specific operational factors for different equipment types.

"This report contains the wisdom of many leading experts in radiation protection and shielding, who have many years' (and dozens of bunker designs) experience. It also contains consensus guidance and practical examples, which will hopefully guide and support those at every stage of their own careers," Eaton told medicalphysicsweb. "There is very little else out there with the breadth and contemporaneity of this report, so we hope it will be of use to those working in radiotherapy across the globe."

• To find out more, hear authors Patrick Horton and David Eaton discuss their ebook in this free Meet the authors webinar.

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