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In Brief...

Specialises in radiation therapy (the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles) to treat cancer, by killing cancer cells.


  • Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.


  • Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

In Summary - Radiologist - Radiation Therapist

Career Sectors

Radiologist - Radiation Therapists typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Medical & Healthcare

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The Work - Radiologist - Radiation Therapist

A radiation oncologist is a medical specialist who has specific postgraduate training in management of patients with cancer, in particular, involving the use of radiation therapy (or radiotherapy) as one aspect of their cancer treatment.

Radiation oncologists also have expertise in the treatment of non-malignant conditions with radiation therapy.

Radiation oncologists work closely with other medical specialists, including surgeons, medical oncologists and palliative care physicians, as part of a multidisciplinary team caring for patients with cancer.

The Work

Most patients have already been given a diagnosis of cancer prior to referral to a radiation oncologist. The radiation oncologist is responsible for assessing the patient by clinical evaluation, and organising imaging and other tests, in order to establish a management plan for an individual. Often, this is done in conjunction with other members of the team (both medical and non-medical).

Radiation oncologists are an integral part of the initial and ongoing management process, and have an important role in communicating with patients, their family members and other carers in relation to all aspects of the management of the patient’s disease and overall care.

In particular, radiation oncologists are the experts managing the detail of the radiation therapy component of treatment. They work closely with medical physicists and radiation therapists to plan and deliver effective radiation treatment.

Radiation oncologists have overall responsibly for determining and prescribing the most suitable dose of radiation (from high energy X-rays, electron beams or gamma rays) to deliver in a particular case, and the method and technique by which this will be achieved. They have skills and knowledge that enable the many relevant clinical, biological and pathological factors to be merged into an individual recommendation regarding a course of radiation treatment. The application of their clinical and technical expertise aims at optimising the benefit of radiation therapy for their patients, whether the goal be cure of cancer or alleviation of symptoms e.g. pain.

Consideration of the patient’s social situation, their beliefs and wishes, and the impact of any treatments on quality of life of a person is a critical part of decision-making. Many radiation oncologists work in hospital cancer departments or in larger cancer treatment centres.

Many radiation oncologists also do clinical research, asking their patients if they wish to enter clinical trials. Some also do laboratory research.

Most radiation oncologists are also involved with teaching – both medical students and especially trainees training on-the-job in the specialty.

Most commonly reported Work Tasks

  • Obtain patients' histories from electronic records, patient interviews, dictated reports, or by communicating with referring clinicians.
  • Prepare comprehensive interpretive reports of findings.
  • Perform or interpret the outcomes of diagnostic imaging procedures including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), nuclear cardiology treadmill studies, mammography, or ultrasound.
  • Review or transmit images and information using picture archiving or communications systems.
  • Communicate examination results or diagnostic information to referring physicians, patients, or families.
  • Evaluate medical information to determine patients' risk factors, such as allergies to contrast agents, or to make decisions regarding the appropriateness of procedures.
  • Provide counseling to radiologic patients to explain the processes, risks, benefits, or alternative treatments.
  • Instruct radiologic staff in desired techniques, positions, or projections.
  • Confer with medical professionals regarding image-based diagnoses.
  • Coordinate radiological services with other medical activities.

Most commonly reported Work Activities

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Interests - Radiologist - Radiation Therapist

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:


The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.


The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.


  • Excellent communication skills and a balanced personality often able to cope with tragic clinical circumstances.
  • Ability to make sound clinical judgements, especially under significant pressure.
  • Tact, diplomacy, ability to delegate, inform and listen.
  • A commitment to the specialty indicates very hard work and willingness to be a team member without necessarily always being the leader.

Entry Requirements - Radiologist - Radiation Therapist

The Faculty of Radiologists of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is the sole body responsible for training of Radiation Oncologists and of certifying their competence for registration.

Last Updated: March, 2015

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