As life expectancy increases, thanks to improving general medical practices, cancer treatments for the ageing population become evermore necessary. Radiation therapy is increasingly a treatment of choice, promoted by continuing improvements in dose delivery technologies. Some techniques, collectively referred to as intensity-modulated radiation therapy, are encountering widespread acceptance and implementation, promoted by reports of superior tumour control and reduced toxicity. However, these new techniques pose new challenges in terms of radiation protection of patients, as they cause a more extensive low-dose exposure of normal tissues compared with conventional radiation therapy. The related dosimetric challenges and the methods available to tackle them are reviewed in this paper, which also emphasises the need for standard radiation protection dosimetry procedures so that information may be consistently gathered for a comparative evaluation of the different treatment modalities.
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