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Profession: Radiation Therapist

Qualification and registration requirements

Radiation Therapists are university qualified professionals who have completed an undergraduate or graduate  entry masters level course in Medical Radiation Science (Radiation Therapy) and are registered with the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia.

What is a Radiation Therapist?

Radiation Therapy integrates high end technology with patient focussed treatment and care to maximise radiation dose to cancer cells/ tumour while minimising the dose to surrounding healthy tissue. Radiation therapy  may be the primary treatment option or used in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or immunotherapy to increase survival rates. It can be delivered externally or internally and the precise treatment  intent ( curative, adjuvant, therapeutic or palliative) will depend on the tumour type, location, stage as well as patient health.

What does a Radiation Therapist do?

Radiation Therapist utilise science involving the controlled use of ionising radiation in treatment planned to cure, contain and relieve disease. The radiation therapist is also expected to calculate the required radiation dose, localise the tumour volume, plan the course of treatment and verify accurate treatment delivery. Radiation oncology procedures are designed to give the patient the benefits of treatment with the minimum of unnecessary dose to healthy tissues and structures.
Radiation Therapists work closely with doctors, patients and other members of the health care team. Specific duties include:

  • Planning treatment details, including calculating radiation dose and simulating its distribution
  • Positioning the patient and operating the radiation therapy equipment
  • Constructing and fitting accessory devices that shape, modify and direct the administered radiation to destroy cancerous tissue

Therapists also play an important role in counselling patients on possible side effects from the treatment and provide advice on how best to minimise these effects. Treatment often occurs over several weeks so a supportive relationship often develops between therapist, the patient and their family.

Related links

Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia
Medical Radiation Practice Council of New South Wales

For information on how to gain recognition of Allied Health qualifications obtained overseas, please contact the relevant professional association as per web lists above.