The Dawson Radiation Oncology Program affiliated with McGill Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics, consists of three years of training: two didactic years and one year of clinical practice (stage).
An academic year includes two semesters of 16 weeks: one semester from August to December, and the other from January to May.
The clinical component includes:
- an intensive 4 week component at the end of the 1st year during the months May, June and/or July
- a 32 week component from the end of August to May during the third year
In the third year of the program, students gain valuable clinical experience by working and studying in affiliated health centres.
General Description of the Profession
Most cancer patients receive radiation treatments, usually in conjunction with other forms of treatment at hospitals and cancer clinics.
The Radiation Oncology technologist plans the treatment of patients following the prescription of a radiation oncologist and administers ionizing radiation to patients using specialized equipment and the principles of dosimetry. The technologist is responsible for the care of the patients during the course of their treatments and for the safe and efficient organization of the work load and work area. Radiation Oncology graduates are qualified to work in all areas of the profession, including: treatment planning and simulation, dosimetry, fabrication of treatment accessory equipment and brachytherapy.
As part of their professional duty, Radiation Oncology technologists (radiation therapists):
- explain procedures, answer questions and provide comfort and emotional support, both to patients and family members
- counseling patients on possible side effects from treatment and providing advice on how to minimize them
- ensure that proper radiation handling and protection procedures are followed
- administer radiation treatments
- monitor patients during procedures
As prospective radiation oncology technologists, students are expected to be trustworthy, cooperative and respectful towards others. They must be responsible for their actions and display a high degree of integrity and honesty.
The ideal candidates must have good math and computer skills and be interested in biology, anatomy and nuclear or radiation physics.
Furthermore they must:
- possess technical skills as well as communication skills
- demonstrate empathy and understand their role as future care giver
- be able to motive themselves and function competently and responsibly
- be able to work effectively as a team member, and cultivate positive critical thinking
- show excellence, commitment and dedication in their work
To ensure that you fully understand the nature of the profession, it is highly recommended that you:
- visit one (or both) of our affiliated cancer clinics.
- volunteer for activities related to cancer treatment.
You may arrange to visit a cancer clinic by filling out the following form and sending it as an email attachment to the clinical instructor(s) listed on the form.
Visit Request Form
If, following the visit you decide to continue in this profession, you may offer your services as a volunteer to an organization such as listed in the link below.
Suggested Volunteer Organizations
Education and training
- Mini Open House February (See Dawson Home Page)