Although radiation therapy has been used for more than half a century in the management of cancer, it did not assume a prominent role in the United States until the late 1950s when supervoltage radiation therapy became available in many centers. With the successes achieved in those centers, there developed an increased interest leading to a better understanding of the biological and physical bases of radiation oncology. Wider applications and rapid improvement in results came about through more precise and scientific use of radiation techniques. The radiation oncologist, therefore, is involved in the care of a majority of patients with cancer.
Medical students and many physicians, however, have had little, if any, useful introduction to the utilization of radiation techniques in treating patients with cancer. The authors point out that recent improvements in medical school curricula have provided the students a somewhat cursory introduction to the subject. The major purpose