Medical Mask Wearing During Treatment for Patients Undergoing Radiothe

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Yu-Ming Wang,1– 4,* Yang-Wei Hsieh,1,2,* Bing-Shen Huang,1,2,5 Kuo-Chiang Sung,1,2 Kuo-Jung Juan,1,2 Steve P Lee,6 Shen-Hao Lee,1,2,5 Eng-Yen Huang1,2

1Department of Radiation Oncology, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; 2Proton and Radiation Therapy Center, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; 3School of Traditional Chinese, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan; 4Institute of Physiology, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan; 5Department of Radiation Oncology, Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taoyuan, Taiwan; 6Department of Radiation Oncology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Shen-Hao Lee Email r12233@cgmh.org.tw
Eng-Yen Huang
Department of Radiation Oncology, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Email hey1200@cgmh.org.tw

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused extreme challenges for the healthcare system. Medical masks have been proven to effectively block disease transmission. Radiotherapeutic departments are at unique risk for disease exposure with the repeated daily treatment schedule. A protocol of mask wearing during daily treatment was established, and the effect of wearing medical masks on dosimetry during proton beam therapy (PBT) was validated.
Methods: A department protocol of medical mask wearing was initiated after the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical masks that were made under standardized specification and regulation were obtained for analyses. The physical and dosimetric characteristics of these medical masks were measured by different proton energies using commercialized measurement tools.
Results: Patients and staff were able to adopt the protocol on a weekly basis, and no adverse events were reported. The average physical thickness of a single piece of medical mask was 0.5 mm with a water equivalent thickness (WET) of 0.1 mm.
Conclusion: Our study revealed that mask wearing for patients undergoing daily radiotherapy is feasible and can provide basic protection for patients and staff. The impact of mask wearing on dosimetry was only 0.1 mm in WET, which has no impact on clinical PBT treatment. A medical mask-wearing policy can be applied safely without dosimetric concerns and should be considered as a standard practice for PBT centers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19, mask-wearing, radiotherapy, dosimetry, proton beam therapy


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