Although cancer treatment has become normal and hospitals invest huge sums in equipment, little attention is given to a segment of specialists who ensure not only safety of the installations but also assess how much radiation should a person receive.

On Wednesday, celebrated as International Day of Medical Physics in memory of the birth anniversary of Marie Curie who discovered radium, the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry chapter of the Association of Medical Physicists of India (AMPI), organised a seminar to create awareness about the role of medical physicists. At the seminar held in Anna University, speakers discussed the recent benchmark researches in radiation therapy, including the use of stem cells and spectroscopy.

“In cancer therapy, we plan and execute radiation treatment. Our prime role in radiation therapy is to ensure that maximum amount of radiation is given to the tumour with minimum radiation to normal tissue and thus avoid the side effects. Though directly involved in treatment, our role is not recognised even by the medical professionals. This is a universal problem. The theme ‘Communicating the role of medical physicists to the public’ was chosen with the aim of informing the public of our role,” said P. Kaliyappan, chairman of the AMPI — Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Chapter, and head of the Department of Medical Physics, Madras Medical College. The medical physicist is involved in planning and commissioning scan equipment such as CT, MRI, PET and SPECT, linear accelerator and telecobolt.

They ensure medical image quality, provide radiation safety protocols to medical professionals, patients and public and serve as liaison officer between medical institutions and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board to implement radiation protection rules, he added.