Heather Dias qualified as a therapeutic radiographer in 1980. She has undertaken a variety of postgraduate education modules to become an advanced practitioner, specialising in gynaecological cancers.
Her role is supported by the charity Macmillan and involves mentoring other radiographers and registrars and leading a small team of site specialist radiographers.
“I have extended my role to include colorectal cancers,” explains Heather. “ I develop patient pathways and my aim is to provide more holistic care.”
Part of Heather’s practice is in brachytherapy, a type of internal radiotherapy, and in order to improve the service to patients and reduce clinician time, she undertakes a range of advanced techniques including vaginal vault insertions.
Heather believes that therapy radiographers should push forward to maintain and enhance their profile within cancer services. “Specialist treatment roles are one way to achieve this, whilst providing patients with quality care,” she says.
“Advanced practice in radiotherapy offers enormous opportunities for role development and job satisfaction. This may be further expanded in the future, with the emphasis on patient survivorship and improving outcomes through greater support and information post treatment.”