Diagnostic radiologists use a variety of imaging procedures to see inside the body and assess or diagnose the patient’s condition. They interpret and report on the resulting images, recommending treatment and, only when appropriate, additional tests.
Your radiologist plays an important role in your health by acting as an expert consultant to your referring physician (the doctor who sent you for testing) by choosing the proper exam and directing radiology technologists (those who operate the equipment) in properly performing quality exams.
Diagnostic radiologists, through extensive clinical work and related research, may also specialize in these radiology subspecialties:
These radiologists are medical doctors who diagnose and treat patients using image-guided, minimally invasive techniques such as X-rays and MRI. They carefully guide instruments through tiny incisions in the body, reaching the source of a medical problem and delivering targeted treatments. These treatments are for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and uterine fibroids, offering less risk, pain and recovery time compared to traditional surgery.
For more information, see our Interventional Radiology Resources.
These specialized radiologists are doctors who prescribe and oversee each cancer patient's treatment plan. They use radiation therapy to treat cancer, and they monitor the patient's progress and adjust treatment to make sure patients receive appropriate quality care. Radiation oncologists receive extensive training in cancer medicine, cancer research, in the safe use of radiation to treat disease and in managing any side effects caused by radiation.
For more information, see:
Medical physicists are uniquely trained scientists working in clinical practice to ensure accuracy, safety and quality in the use of radiation in medical procedures such as medical imaging and radiation therapy. The medical physicist ensures that the radiation prescribed in radiation therapy is delivered accurately and safely. In diagnostic imaging, they ensure that equipment and protocols used in both ionizing radiation procedures and those that do not use ionizing radiation provide appropriate image quality.
Visit the American Association of Physicists in Medicine for more information.
Nuclear medicine physicians are highly trained specialists who use small amounts of radioactive materials to diagnose and treat cancer and other types of disease. In nuclear medicine imaging, these radioactive materials are detected by special types of cameras and computers to provide precise views of the body.
Visit the Society for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging for more information.