Week Honors Professionals Who Work in Radiologic Technology

Sep 26, 2000, 01:00 ET from American Society of Radiologic Technologists

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Sept. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 300 million radiologic
 procedures will be performed this year in the United States, ranging from
 basic x-rays of broken bones to lifesaving radiation therapy for cancer
 patients.  The medical professionals who perform those procedures are
 radiologic technologists, and their vital contributions to patient care will
 be recognized during the week of Nov. 5-11, 2000.
     National Radiologic Technology Week(R) is scheduled each year to coincide
 with the anniversary of the discovery of the x-ray by German physicist Wilhelm
 Roentgen on Nov. 8, 1895.  Roentgen's early, grainy images gave physicians a
 glimpse into the human body for the first time and led to monumental advances
 in diagnostic medicine.
     Today, more than 220,000 registered radiologic technologists work in the
 United States.  Whether they are using x-rays to produce images of anatomy or
 delivering high doses of radiation directly to cancerous tumors, radiologic
 technologists combine human compassion with the latest technology.
     The role of the radiologic technologist is continually expanding.  Recent
 innovations in the field include:
     --  Magnetic resonance imaging is being used to peer into the mysteries of
         the human brain, allowing researchers to pinpoint areas that control
         movement, speech and memory.  This "brain mapping" may bring
         scientists closer to understanding conditions such as Alzheimer
         disease and attention deficit disorder.
     --  A new nuclear medicine technique known as FDG-PET imaging is proving
         highly accurate for diagnosing brain and lung cancer, for predicting
         tumor response early in the course of a treatment regimen, and for
         evaluating treatment outcomes.
     --  Computed tomography is being investigated as an early screening method
         for colorectal cancer.  Researchers believe CT scans could one day
         replace colonoscopies, an invasive procedure that requires patients to
         be sedated.
     These and other radiologic procedures offer invaluable insight into the
 human body.  The technologists who perform these procedures must be educated
 in radiation safety, patient positioning, examination techniques, equipment
 protocols, radiation protection and basic patient care.
     "Treatment of patients depends on accurate and precise medical imaging and
 radiation therapy examinations," explained Michael DelVecchio, B.S., R.T.(R),
 president of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.  "Fractures can
 be aligned, ulcers can be detected and many other injuries and diseases can be
 treated when their exact nature is known to the physician.  As an integral
 member of the health care team, radiologic technologists set the standard for
 patient care."
     National Radiologic Technology Week has been sponsored by the ASRT since
 1979.  The ASRT has more than 86,000 members and is the world's oldest and
 largest association for radiologic technologists.
       Consumer-Oriented Sidebar From the American Society of Radiologic
         What Patients Can Do to Ensure Quality Radiologic Examinations
     X-rays and other radiologic examinations can provide lifesaving
 information necessary for diagnosis and treatment.  But, like most things,
 they carry a small risk.  Here's how patients can ensure that they receive the
 best care possible the next time they are scheduled for a radiologic
     --  Tell your physician or the radiologic technologist if you are
         pregnant.  Many types of x-ray examinations may be performed safely on
         pregnant women, but the benefits of the examination must be weighed
         against any risks to the developing fetus.
     --  The eyes, thyroid and reproductive organs are more sensitive to
         radiation than other parts of the body.  These organs usually are
         shielded when they are in the path of the x-ray beam.  If you do not
         receive shielding and think you should, ask.
     --  Remain still during the exposure, which will last only a few seconds.
         Motion makes images blurry, and blurry images must be repeated.
     --  Don't refuse a radiologic examination if there is a clear need for it.
         Remember, the risk is small.  On the other hand, don't insist on an
         x-ray or another type of imaging examination if your physician does
         not recommend one.  Radiologic examinations should be performed only
         when there is a medical need.
     --  Ask whether the person performing your exam is a registered radiologic
         technologist.  Registered technologists must graduate from a formal
         education program and pass a national certification exam.  They also
         must earn continuing education credits throughout their career,
         keeping them up-to-date on changes in technology.
     For more information about radiologic examinations and procedures, write
 for a free copy of "The Picture of Health," a patient guide to medical
 imaging.  Send a stamped, self-addressed, business-sized envelope to:
 American Society of Radiologic Technologists, Customer Services Department,
 "The Picture of Health," 15000 Central Ave. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87123-3917.

SOURCE American Society of Radiologic Technologists