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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 637-638
 

Brachytherapy in modern oncology practice: A survey based assessment of knowledge levels among oncology professionals and need for comprehensive oncology education


Department of Radiation Oncology, Malabar Cancer Centre, Kodiyeri, Thalassery, Kerala, India

Date of Web Publication10-Mar-2016

Correspondence Address:
K M Sujith
Department of Radiation Oncology, Malabar Cancer Centre, Kodiyeri, Thalassery, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.178431

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How to cite this article:
Sujith K M, Chakraborty S, Geetha M, Kumar M, Balasubramanian S. Brachytherapy in modern oncology practice: A survey based assessment of knowledge levels among oncology professionals and need for comprehensive oncology education. Indian J Cancer 2015;52:637-8

How to cite this URL:
Sujith K M, Chakraborty S, Geetha M, Kumar M, Balasubramanian S. Brachytherapy in modern oncology practice: A survey based assessment of knowledge levels among oncology professionals and need for comprehensive oncology education. Indian J Cancer [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Dec 6];52:637-8. Available from: http://www.indianjcancer.com/text.asp?2015/52/4/637/178431


Sir,

The role of brachytherapy in management of cancer is well established.[1] The awareness about brachytherapy among the oncology fraternity has not been studied previously. In our institution, we conducted an anonymous survey to assess the level of awareness regarding brachytherapy in oncology professionals at our center.

A 10-point questionnaire was provided to [Table 1] 9 surgical and medical oncologists (S/MO), 35 oncology nurses (ON) and 14 radiotherapy technologists (RTT). The questions prepared by the radiation oncology team represented nine facts regarding brachytherapy. The 10th question asked was about the method respondents felt was the best way to learn about brachytherapy.
Table 1: Survey questionnaire and the correct response rates

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The overall response rate was 58% (5 S/MO, 27 ON, and 6 RTT). Only 50% of S/MO knew that brachytherapy can be used for pre-operative, post-operative, palliative, and boost radiotherapy whereas RTT were completely unaware of these indications. About 50% of the RTT were not aware of interstitial brachytherapy and its role in soft tissue sarcomas. Majority of the respondents selected intensity modulated radiotherapy/three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy as the most conformal form of radiotherapy. Ninety eight percent of the respondents felt that live demonstration workshops were the best way for brachytherapy awareness. The questionnaire, their correct answers and the response rates of the oncology professionals are given in [Table 1].

This survey points to the inadequate information on brachytherapy among oncology professionals. The low level of awareness of RTTs is notable and underlines the need for continuing medical education. Brachytherapy was derived from the Greek word “brachos” meaning short and has completed a centenary of clinical use recently.[2] Radium needles were replaced by afterloading treatment system with very minimal risk of radiation personnel exposure. The main indications of brachytherapy include pre-operative, post-operative, radical, and palliative. Brachytherapy includes intracavitary, intraluminal, interstitial, surface brachytherapy, etc., Brachytherapy especially the interstitial form has been considered as the most conformal form of radiotherapy.[3],[4] Our survey on brachytherapy awareness among oncology professionals point to the suboptimum information on brachytherapy. This needs to be corrected by continuous medical education and live demonstration workshops. Such intervention can lead to the ultimate aim of comprehensive oncology care to our patients. Large scale survey of brachytherapy awareness followed by educational intervention is indicated.

 
  References Top

1.
Munshi A. Resurrecting brachytherapy from brink of oblivion. J Cancer Res Ther 2011;7:391-2.  Back to cited text no. 1
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2.
Mohanti BK. The centenary of brachytherapy in clinical oncology. Natl Med J India 1998;11:110-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Machtens S, Baumann R, Hagemann J, Warszawski A, Meyer A, Karstens JH, et al. Long-term results of interstitial brachytherapy (LDR-Brachytherapy) in the treatment of patients with prostate cancer. World J Urol 2006;24:289-95.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Korb LJ, Brawer MK. Modern brachytherapy for localized prostate cancers: The northwest hospital (Seattle) experience. Rev Urol 2001;3:51-62.  Back to cited text no. 4
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