For many breast cancer patients and survivors of the disease, one of the deepest connections they make is with the radiation therapists who guide them at every step of their cancer treatment journey. In our third installation of our radiation oncology series, we dive into the topics of breast cancer treatment, radiation therapy, and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) during our annual observation of #Pinktober – the month dedicated to breast cancer awareness.
A Brief History of Radiation Therapy
While radiation therapy continues to be one of the most advanced and widely-practiced medical protocols for treating breast cancer, it started out in the early 20th century as largely experimental. As the technology developed, a small group of physicians began to develop their own techniques for imaging, as well as interpreting patient results. These individuals were pioneers, and the early years of radiology saw rapid innovations and advancements in the machinery used to harness these technologies.
Much of the time, the researchers failed to administer the correct amount of radiation to patients, in addition, they suffered injuries and medical conditions themselves due to a lack of protection. Overall, there was a desperate need for proper education in how to harness these technologies. Fortunately, Ed Jerman, an inventor and educator, would soon step up to create an organization dedicated to the education and advancement of all medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals.
Radiation Therapy and Breast Cancer Treatment Outcomes
Fast forward to 2021, radiation therapists are now highly trained and knowledgeable medical professionals who administer very specific prescribed doses of radiation to treat various cancers throughout the body.
In the arena of breast cancer treatment, they provide support, positioning, and guide patients through the treatment protocols prescribed by the radiation oncologist and their team. Innovations in treatment planning and overall patient health care models in the United States continue to improve the survival rates of women with breast cancer. Since 1990, the mortality rate has dropped by nearly 14%. For further information about the scientific landmarks that have defined breast cancer treatment over the last 250 years, visit our blog post detailing the milestones and breakthroughs here.
American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) – More than a Century of Professional Excellence
In celebration of our return to in-person professional conferences, Mission Search spoke with Mr. Greg Crutcher, Manager of Public Relations for ASRT, to learn more about the benefits of their professional organization for radiation therapists, patients, as well as their ongoing corporate responsibilities and initiatives. The ASRT is the world’s largest radiologic science association and is committed to its role as an advocate for the profession. Its focus is providing professional support, educational opportunities and legislative and regulatory advocacy for their members.
“Therapists often become close to their patients as they see them every day for sometimes as much as seven weeks of treatment,” Mr. Crutcher explains.
“They celebrate their patients’ successes and care about their struggles. Radiation therapists are compassionate, detail-oriented and always focused on patient safety.”
In addition to the ASRT’s work, its philanthropic arm, the ASRT Foundation, provides scholarships and grants to radiologic technology students and practicing technologists.For the 2021-2022