Q&A with Lindsey Miller
Huge growth rate expected
in field of radiation therapy
Q: What led you to choose a career in radiation therapy?
A: I’ve always enjoyed science, especially physics and biology. I thought I wanted to enter into a career in cancer research initially, but I soon realized my passion was serving on the front lines. During radiation therapy school, my uncle was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer and my grandfather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was able to be extremely involved in their care, and I learned a great deal from both their journeys and the people who helped care for them. Since then, my passion for radiation therapy lead me to ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City.
Q: What exactly does a radiation therapist do?
A: As a radiation therapy technologist (RTT), it’s my duty to deliver radiation treatments to my patients with the utmost accuracy, compassion and respect. I see the patient every day of their treatment, which can be anywhere from five days to 44 days. RTTs follow the physician’s prescription for how they want the patient positioned for treatment and then we deliver the proton beam treatment. In addition to monitoring the patient’s clinical progress, it is important for me to monitor their emotional needs. I am the line of communication between the patient and the physician, so if I identify any concerns, I inform the physician and help make that connection for the patient.
Q: What does the future of radiation therapy look like?
A: The future of radiation therapy looks fantastic with an expected growth rate of 24 percent by 2022, which is much faster than the average job outlook. But it is definitely a competitive field. The University of Oklahoma, where I earned my degree, is the only school in the state that offers a bachelor’s degree specifically for medical imaging and radiation sciences in radiation therapy, and it’s a very competitive program that accepts only 12 students a year. It’s also one of the few schools in the country that offers proton therapy training in addition to traditional photon clinical education. That’s a plus for others like me interested in working with proton therapy, which is a type of radiation therapy that treats many types of cancer by precisely targeting tumors and minimizing damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. I love that my patients have a high quality of life as they go through proton therapy. And to have a career where I know I’m making a difference in someone’s life is awesome.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER