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20Nov 2019

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Thesis defense Jolien Heukelom: more effective adaptive radiotherapy

The standard treatment for head and neck cancer patients who cannot have surgery is a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy: chemoradiotherapy. PhD researcher Jolien Heukelom investigated different options to improve the results after chemoradiotherapy. Either by increasing the amount of patients being cured, or by decreasing the amount of patients that suffer side effects of the treatment.

Dose accumulation

A different question Heukelom addressed is about adaptive radiotherapy (ART), which is increasingly being applied in radiotherapy. ART involves the adaptation of the treatment plan during the series of treatments in order to correct for anatomical changes that have occurred. Which patients need such an adaptive approach? Her PhD research shows this can be predicted with a technique called dose accumulation and models that predict side effects. More accurately than the doctors' choice without those methods. The use of dose accumulation and such models allows for more effective use of adaptive radiotherapy, which benefits health care efficiency. It might also further improve the outcomes for patients. 

On Friday November 22nd she will defend her thesis at the University of Amsterdam. Good luck Jolien!

The thesis can be downloaded here.

Practical information about the defense can be found on the website of the University of Amsterdam.

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