The study of radioactivity and by extension medical physics was pioneered by the famous Marie Curie, the first woman and first person to win the Nobel Prize twice - Physics (1903) and Chemistry (1911).The international Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP) chose a date of significance to Madam Curie, 7th November which represents not only her birthday but also when she received her second Nobel Prize, to celebrate annually the International Day of Medical Physics (IDMP). This day was identified as an avenue to bring awareness to the role of medical physicists and how they "improve the safety and quality of healthcare for the benefit of patients" (World Health Organization).
The IOMP first celebrated this initiative in 2013 and this years the theme is entitled "Better Medical Physics = Better Cancer Care in Radiation Oncology". The national medical physicist body, the Trinidad and Tobago Organization of Medical Physicists (TTOMP) would like to take this opportunity to educate the public on the role and responsibilities of medical physicists and in so doing shine a light on the integral part medical physics plays in a radiation oncology department.
Radiation Oncology, the medical specialty utilizing radiation to treat cancers, has improved vastly of the last few decades with advancements in equipment and treatment techniques to improve radiation delivery to the tumour whilst minimizing dose to healthy surrounding tissue. Medical Physicists involved in radiation therapy have played a critical role not only in the clinical setting but in the laboratory with research and development. It is here that medical physics has led the continuous exploration of the use of radiation to treat cancers by improving techniques and equipment to create the tools necessary to provide better cancer care in the 21st century and beyond.
Vladimir Henderson-Suite MSc. Med. Phys, MSc. Proj. Mngt Medical Physicist