Radiation Therapy Technology students explore new career options in metro Detroit

By Assistant Clinical Professor Alisa Kagen

The Radiation Therapy Technology program took our senior students to explore a nonmelanoma skin treatment.

WSU Applebaum RTT seniors and faculty members recently took their education on the road.

Skin cancer is the No. 1 most prevalent cancer in the United States. Over 100,000 cases are diagnosed a year. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are two types of nonmelanoma skin cancers.

In the past, both were routinely treated with a procedure called Mohs surgery, where the surgeon removes a layer of skin and then examines the specimen under a microscope. The surgeon may need to remove several layers of skin before a clear margin is produced. This procedure is very effective in treating the skin cancer, but it also can leave an unsightly scar. This may be esthetically undesirable if the lesion is on the patient's face.

Students learned about techniques from the dermatology team.

Currently, a new modality is being promoted for the treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancer. This involves a radiation treatment using superficial x-rays to treat the lesion. This procedure is often recommended over Mohs surgery for the better cosmetic result — no scar.

We recently took our senior students to Pinnacle Dermatology in Birmingham, where the team demonstrated this technique and their equipment, and also spoke about employment opportunities. Experiences like this are consistent with Wayne State's College to Career initiative, which seeks to provide every student with experiential learning opportunities that allow them to encounter the world, gain deeper insights and new perspectives, and prepare for prosperous careers. 

The students were exposed to new technology and opportunities in the field of radiation therapy technology — and were excited about the latest and greatest advancements in our field.

Students benefited from hands-on learning.

About us

Radiation therapists have a unique opportunity to blend the knowledge and skills of mathematics, science and psychology in their daily work. Radiation therapists operate sophisticated radiation equipment to treat malignant tissue, assist in designing cancer treatment through the use of 3D computer-generated calculations, recognize when a patient is having additional medical problems that require a doctor's attention and provide psychological support for patients who are dealing with the stress of their illness. The bachelor of science in Radiation Therapy Technology is offered through Wayne State’s Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences with an application deadline of Nov. 30.

An anchor in urban health care

The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is built on more than 100 years of tradition and innovation in the heart of Detroit. We have grown deep roots in our city, harnessing its powerhouse hospital systems and community service organizations as vibrant, real-world training grounds for students, with an ongoing focus on social justice in health care. And our research at all levels – from undergraduates to veteran faculty members – translates into creative solutions for healthier communities.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering approximately 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 24,000 students.

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