Shedding light on Radiation Therapy Misconceptions:
After speaking with a Cambridge student this week and hearing them voice their concerns, I realize that many people have misconceptions about what it is to be a radiation therapist.
“How do I maintain an emotional distance from my patients? Don’t most patients die from cancer? I can’t get close to patients when I cannot cure them”. These are the questions we frequently hear from prospective students. These concerns sometimes prevent students from entering the field of radiation therapy.
The reality is that most patients with cancer are cured; we now cure approximately 68% of the patients we treat. And those patients who cannot be cured are given a much better quality of life because of the care we give. While some people believe that medical professionals should maintain an emotional distance with the patients they treat, at Cambridge College we believe that is the emotional connection that helps patients. In the Cambridge Radiation Therapy program, we teach students to treat patients, and not diseases. Establishing an emotional connection with patients does not just benefit the patients; it benefits the therapist as well. At Cambridge, in addition to teaching students the technical components of being a radiation therapist, we also give students the tools to “treat the patient”; to establish connections with patients, and to help patients deal with the emotional concerns that come with the diagnosis of cancer.
“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome”(Hunter-Patch Adams).