OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Corvallis Science Pub: The physics of cancer treatment

03/08/2011

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Nearly everyone has been either personally or indirectly affected by cancer. In the United States, the lifetime risk of developing a solid cancer or leukemia is estimated at four in 10.

At Corvallis Science Pub on March 14, Elizabeth Shiner of Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center will explain the physics principles involved in diagnosing cancer and treating tumors with radiation.

Corvallis Science Pub begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 2nd St. in downtown Corvallis. It is free and open to the public. Sponsors include Oregon State University’s Terra magazine, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Shiner will present a behind-the-scenes look at treatment technologies, from the basic principles of a CT scanner used in diagnosis to the complex linear accelerators used in treatment. This will be an interactive trip through cancer management as seen from the patient’s perspective and through the technology. The audience will discover how radiation is created, how it is used and why it works.

“The application of the concepts and methods of physics to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer is the basis for better survival outcomes,” said Shiner. “The field of medical physics bridges physics and clinical applications in medicine.”

Shiner oversees the use of all radioactive materials and works with physicians to design radiation treatments at Samaritan Regional Cancer Center in Corvallis. She is a graduate of Linfield College and the University of Wisconsin.

Also giving a brief perspective on research in this field will be Tristan Hay, a graduate student in Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at OSU. Samaritan Regional Cancer Center is a clinical internship site for OSU’s medical physics program.

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