Radiation therapists are highly skilled members of the cancer management team who accurately record, interpret and administer radiation therapy treatments prescribed by radiation oncologists for the healthcare of cancer patients. Radiation therapists have contact with patients throughout the treatment course, educating them about treatment procedures and potential radiation side effects. Monitoring and observing each patient's clinical progress and emotional needs also are part of the radiation therapist's daily routine.
Currently, there are 71 accredited educational programs in the U.S. for radiation therapy, down from 125 programs a decade ago, according to the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. Thirteen states have no radiation therapy program so that interested individuals must relocate to study the discipline. Recent ASRT research shows that 52 percent of the programs currently open are at full capacity. The ASRT information also shows that radiation therapy programs turned away nearly 450 qualified applicants in 2002 due to lack of space. This new ASTRO/ASRT grant program will help pave the way for the establishment of new radiation therapy programs.
"ASTRO is excited about the launch of this new program which will help train the radiation therapists of tomorrow. Significant shortages in the field of radiation therapy exist in the United States right now and it will only increase in the coming years if we don't do something to reverse the problem. I truly believe this grant program is a step in the right dire
Contact: Beth Bukata
American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology