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Tuesday November 8th sees World Radiography Day take place across the globe, with the UK's Society and College of Radiographers set to celebrate the event.
World Radiography Day marks the anniversary of the first ever X-ray image, which was captured by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895. The discovery of X-radiation is attributed to Roentgen, whose achievement is celebrated with events and activities designed to raise awareness of the work today's radiographers do on November 8th each year.
Thanks to technology, X-ray techniques are advancing rapidly, meaning radiography remains an exciting, innovative field for healthcare workers in the 21st century, despite celebrating its 121st birthday this year.
One of the main aims of the global awareness day is to increase the general public's knowledge of the benefits that diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy can have for their health, with X-rays used to detect everything from bone fractures to cancerous tumours.
For example, patients may not necessarily know the difference between a diagnostic radiographer - who would tend to specialise in taking X-ray images of bones, teeth or foreign objects that may have entered the body - and radiotherapy radiographers. The latter typically specialise in screening patients' bodies for images indicating that cancer is present, before providing assistance in delivering targeted radiotherapy treatment to tackle the disease.
This year's event needs to focus on striking the right balance between raising awareness of the capabilities of radiographers and educating the public on when X-rays are unnecessary, as research published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges last month revealed too many needless X-rays are being carried out, costing the NHS precious time, money and resources.
Speaking to BBC News, Professor Dame Sue Bailey, chairwoman of the organisation, stated: "What we've got is a culture of 'we can do something, therefore we should do something', and we need to stop and reflect and decide what is the best option for the patient in their individual circumstances."
Written by Megan Smith
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