Patterns of Practice in Canadian Radiation Treatment Centres: Results of a National Survey Journal Articles uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: Radiation therapy has changed rapidly over the past decade due to the application of technological advances. A survey was conducted of radiation treatment centres in Canada to establish current patterns of practice across the country. Areas of inquiry included treatment techniques and image verification, as well as roles and responsibilities of radiation therapists (RTs). METHODS AND MATERIALS: In January 2016, a survey was sent to managers of the 46 radiation treatment centres in Canada. This survey sought information on a range of staffing and practice variables for the fiscal year 2014/2015. RESULTS: Of the 46 centres contacted, 37 centres responded, representing an 80.4% response rate. Survey results showed that the use of volumetric arc therapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy is common across Canada for several anatomic sites, as well as the use of daily pretreatment image verification. A high degree of variability exists for imaging modality (two dimensional vs. three dimensional) for some sites, including brain, head and neck, and lung. RTs' responsibilities have expanded uniformly across the country, with RTs involved in organ-at-risk contouring and on-treatment image approval at the majority of centres. Despite this role expansion, specialty roles in areas of quality and applications expertise are still rare. CONCLUSIONS: Radiation therapy in Canada has transitioned to high-technology treatment techniques with relative consistency across the country. There is, however, variation in the imaging modality used for daily verification. Canada may benefit from consensus guidelines on the application of three-dimensional imaging for treatment verification. While RTs have expanded their responsibilities, role definition for RTs working in supervisory or supporting positions has not kept pace at many centres and it is unclear if RTs are supported in their expanded accountabilities.


  • Giddings, Alison
  • Nica, Luminita
  • French, John
  • Davis, Carol-Anne
  • Smoke, Marcia
  • Bolderston, Amanda

publication date

  • March 2018