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
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
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