The question, "What is Dosimetry?" can be hard to explain. Why? Mainly due to the fact that a Dosimetrist does practice dosimetry, but they also do a lot more.
So technically, there can be two answers to this question.
There is the answer to what dosimetry is, and there is the answer to what being a Dosimetrist entails.
This brief is designed to give you a basic overview of this complicated medical field.
What Is Dosimetry? Medical Doctors Working With Radiation
Dosimetry is known as the measurement of dosed radiation, which is absorbed by the body. It is generally used for medical purposes; as a Dosimetrist would calculate the exact amount of radiation needed (the dose) – to treat a patient effectively. External dosimetry can be measured with a dosimeter, which detects how much ionizing radiation is entering the body, and being absorbed. However, internal dosimetry is a lot harder to measure for multiple reasons. The first reason is that the radiation is being emitted from inside the body, rather than outside. Therefore, it is usually detected using a variety of imaging techniques.
To calculate the exact amount of radiation needed to treat a patient, many preliminary steps need to be taken. For instance, the radiation needs to be tested with percentage depth curves, and dose profiles. This necessary step, is usually measured by medical physicists. This information is then passed onto the Medical Dosimetrist, so that they can begin to plan the patient’s treatment plan, and use this data within mathematical equations to calculate the required dose.
As stated above, dosimetry is mainly used in the medical field, however, it has a lot more uses. For workers within environments that may expose them radiation, they typically must wear specially designed badges that have a dosimeter embedded inside. This meter detects the exact amount of radiation their body is absorbing. Each company has a regulatory level that must not be exceeded, therefore these dosimeter badges are extremely important to make sure that all workers are safe, and aren’t at risk.
What Does a Dosimetrist Do?
A Dosimetrist does all the above plus much more. Depending on where they work, a Dosimetrist has a huge list of other duties that they must perform daily. Dosimetrists must have an extensive education in the areas of cancer treatment, and brachytherapy. This is incredibly important, and they also need to have a great knowledge of the human anatomy, to perfectly tailor a treatment plan for each patient.
Dosimetrists are charged with critically analyzing vital data and images so that they may make the right decision concerning radiation dosages. After looking at a variety of X-Ray, CT and MRI scan images, it is their job to decide how much radiation should be required to effectively treat a patient’s disease, illness or condition. Therefore, they must be very well educated, and a great critical thinker. In this career field, there isn’t a simple formula they can use to calculate the correct amount, a lot of it is estimating values, and then increasing or decreasing radiation depending on how the body reacts.
As you can tell, this is a career path solely for those who have a burning desire to heal mankind. This job is for people who want to leave a legacy of helping their fellow man. The commitment one must make in order to complete the educational requirements is enough to make the average person shrug their shoulders and seek a different, less taxing career path. That stated, if you are up for the somewhat daunting challenge, dig in, get into a Medical Dosimetry Program and pay the price to become one of world’s top dosimetrists. As we stated from the onset, answering the question, "what is dosimetry?" is a incredible task. Hopefully, we gave you a great enough glimpse into this field - to help you decide which route you might take.