No two days are the same
"As a medical radiation physicist within radiotherapy, no two working days are the same - let alone if you work with proton therapy. I myself am only present in Leuven on Thursdays, so of course I don’t the same amount of work as my fellow physicists and fellow dosimetrists who work for PARTICLE fulltime. Therefore, I concentrate on a few tasks."
For instance, Antoine does not plan treatments (a task that requires more than a day's work), but contributes to quality control of the treatments. "I do so for example by measuring the dose delivered during the patient's treatment using a detector consisting of several ionisation chambers. I then compare the measured amount with the expected dose."
"My day starts at 7.00 o’clock with daily checks of the machine to make sure it is still suitable for treatment. These checks ensure that the treatment runs smoothly. Once the machine is ready, it is available for the radiotherapy technologists to start treatment. If they have any concerns or questions about the machine during the treatment sessions, I remain available to them."
Daily checks of the machine ensure that the workflow of the treatment runs smoothly.
"The machines are not only checked in the morning: more extensive checks are performed regularly. These checks are more time-consuming and some are even carried out over the weekend (annual checks).
Opportunity to broaden knowledge
"Being involved from the beginning in the start-up of the only active proton therapy centre in Belgium and being allowed to continue working here is an opportunity to broaden and improve my knowledge. Compared to conventional radiotherapy with photons, the way the dose is administered during treatment is entirely different, and certain points that seem like details in photon therapy may be very important in proton therapy, requiring even more verifications."