Radiation Oncology Corner
This month: Radiation Oncology, Radiology, and the ACR: A Perfect Union
Radiation oncology and radiology are two specialties that are uniquely intertwined. In fact, the history of radiotherapy (RT) began almost immediately after the discovery of X-rays in 1895. As physicians rapidly discovered inventive and practical diagnostic uses of X-rays, it became apparent that prolonged exposure to radiation caused tissue damage, and the first therapeutic utilization of X-rays to treat cancer patients began as early as 1896.
Over the ensuing decades, the technological developments in both the diagnostic and therapeutic arenas have accelerated. We have emerged from using wide treatment fields with associated risks of large amounts of normal tissue damage, to using highly targeted techniques that have a high degree of spatial accuracy and tissue-sparing. To safely and accurately target tumor volumes, it is imperative that there is significant reliance on diagnostic imaging. Thus, communication and interplay between our two specialties is increasingly important and valuable for the highest level of patient care and treatment outcomes.
Enhancement of this relationship can occur at many levels. We need to find ways to work together not only in the clinic, but also on a broad scale, as is emphasized through the integral relationships that exist between these fields in national organizations. The ACR, with its dedication to advocacy, economics, education, quality and safety, and clinical research, is an excellent platform from which to enrich these crucial collaborations.
As the newly appointed radiation oncology representative for the Resident and Fellow Section, I hope to continue to find ways to enhance our working relationship between disciplines at the national level through communication of key issues and development of new resources. Engagement in the ACR through the RFS has led to many exciting developments, which we plan to highlight in future posts. One of the many benefits of this position is the overwhelming openness and enthusiasm for new ideas within the ACR, so please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions, feedback, ideas, or even (especially) just interest in getting involved.
I look forward to sharing more throughout the coming year, as well as getting to know many of you through this important platform!