‘We don’t just treat them; we know their stories’: Celebrating western Sydney’s radiographers and radiation therapists on World Radiography Day

From cancer treatments to imaging detection for conditions and diseases, radiation therapists and radiographers at Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) often see patients during some of their lowest and most scary moments.

But during daily treatments, often over a period of months, it’s easy to get to know the patient behind the diagnosis.

For Laura Adamson, Senior Radiation Therapist: Quality Assurance and Research, this is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.

“There are a lot of great stories, but one that stands out is an adolescent bounding down the hospital corridor excited to tell me they just had their five-year check-up and they are cancer free,” Laura said.

In the moment I didn’t recognise them, and they had to remind me that they were the 11-year-old child I treated five years earlier. It was great to catch up and hear how they were progressing and excelling in life.

Laura Adamson

World Radiography Day (WRD) is celebrated on 8 November each year, commemorating the day that Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays in 1895.

It is a day to celebrate how the humble x-ray has contributed to better quality care for patients and reflect on the technological progress of using radiation in diagnosis and treatment of so many diseases and injuries.

The theme for WRD is Medical Radiation Practitioners – at the forefront of patient safety.

This day also falls during National Radiographer and Radiation Therapist Week (NRRTW), which is celebrated nationally from 7 November to 13 November and provides an opportunity for professionals to network and share learning information.

This is a chance to acknowledge the big role that medical radiation science staff play in the allied health space.

RadiographerResponsible for taking diagnostic images like x-rays, CT and MRI scans .
Radiation therapistCalculates radiation plans and operates advanced technology and imaging equipment to ensure the treatment is delivered accurately and safely, to diseases like cancer.
Nuclear medicine technologistAdministers radiopharmaceuticals, performs imaging procedures like PET scans.
SonographerPerforms ultrasounds for diagnostic examinations.
MammographerUses medical imaging to perform low-energy x-ray for breast screening.

The patients of WSLHD benefit from the skills and knowledge of medical radiation professionals across many departments and specialist areas in our hospitals.

Radiographers perform imaging in Emergency, Intensive Care, Operating Suite, Cath Lab, Neonatal Intensive Care, Endoscopy, and of course, Radiology.

Nuclear Medicine Technologists utilise PET scanners and gamma cameras, and Radiation Therapists plan and deliver therapeutic doses of radiation in WSLHD cancer treatment centres.

WSLHD Radiographers, Radiation Therapists and Nuclear Medicine Technologists work to ultimately deliver radiation in an optimised and justified manner ensuring safety and quality of care for patients.