School of Radiation Therapy: What Does a Radiation Therapist Do?

Unlike radiologic technologists who utilize x-rays for diagnostic purposes, radiation therapists are trained to deliver high doses of ionizing radiation to specific areas of the patient’s body for the treatment of disease, specifically cancer.

It is their responsibility to implement the treatment procedures prescribed by the physician, planned in conjunction with the radiation physicist, and to provide the support necessary to minimize the emotional distress produced by cancer treatment. Radiation therapists must have a thorough understanding and knowledge of human anatomy, radiation physics, the physiology and psychology of cancer and the operating procedures of the treatment machines they use. Since so much depends on their accuracy and attention to detail, the therapist becomes an essential member of the healthcare team that includes the physician, physicist, nurse, and social worker.