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Radiologists and radiographers

Radiologists and radiographers are medical professionals. They work with X‑rays and other imaging technologies that diagnose and treat illnesses.

Radiologists are doctors trained to specialise in interpreting X‑ray images. They identify medical problems from the images, and recommend subsequent treatment. Radiologists even perform small procedures which help prevent patients undergoing surgery.

Radiographers are medical specialists rather than doctors. They are expert in using imaging technologies such as X‑ray, MRI and ultrasound to produce images of injuries and diseases in patients. Some radiographers also use machines to deliver treatments such as radiation therapy.

Both professions started after X‑rays were discovered in 1895. Doctors, physicists, photographers and engineers all initially operated X‑ray machines in hospitals. Many of them developed cancer after years of unprotected exposure to X‑rays, so protective measures were gradually developed. Radiologists separated themselves from radiographers, who were not medically trained. Each formed their own societies and medical colleges.

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Bibliography

B Kevles, Naked to the Bone: Medical Imaging in the Twentieth Century (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1997)

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