Preventing accidents in radiation therapy

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Accident prevention in radiation therapy should be an integral part of the design of equipment and premises, and of the working procedures. Radiation therapy equipment should be designed to reduce operator errors by automatically rejecting demands outside the design specification. Radiation therapy equipment should be calibrated after installation or any modification and should be routinely checked by a standard test procedure that will detect significant changes in performance (ICRP Publication 86 Prevention of Accidents to Patients Undergoing Radiation Therapy). Working procedures should require key decisions to be subject to independent confirmation (ICRP Publication 86). In radiation therapy, the avoidance of accidents is the predominant issue. A review of such accidents and advice for accident prevention is found in ICRP Publication 86; specific advice for brachytherapy can be found in ICRP Publication 97 Prevention of High-dose-rate Brachytherapy Accidents and ICRP Publication 98 Radiation Safety Aspects of Brachytherapy for Prostate Cancer using Permanently Implanted Sources, and that for ion beam therapy can be found in ICRP Publication 127 Radiological Protection in Ion Beam Radiotherapy and ICRP Publication 112 Preventing Accidental Exposures from New External Beam Radiation Therapy Technologies.

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