Radiology is the discipline of medicine that uses imaging to diagnose and treat diseases in humans and animals. If you practice radiology, you use specialized equipment to take photos or images of the body using special techniques, including X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, CT scans, and PET scans, along with nuclear medicine. Radiologists examine these images to determine a diagnosis and give a report to the doctor to help them treat the condition that the images demonstrate.
Radiology is important to study when you're in or want to be in the medical field because it allows doctors and nurses to see what's going on inside the body when it's not visible to the naked eye. If you're a radiologist, you work with all sorts of medical disciplines, from emergency medicine to oncology to surgery to orthopedics to obstetrics. You can help save lives by taking medical images and helping doctors diagnose and treat injuries and conditions. Doctors often can't treat patients without the medical imaging that radiology provides, so if you choose a career in radiology, you'll perform a much-needed service.
There are three basic disciplines of radiology: diagnostic radiology, radiation oncology, and interventional radiology, and you can find careers in all three areas. Diagnostic radiologists use medical imaging to help determine medical conditions. You'll find diagnostic radiologists performing mammograms or taking X-rays and scans of adults or children. A diagnostic radiologist may specialize in a specific area of the body. Radiologists who work in oncology work directly with cancer patients to manage treatment plans. Interventional radiologists use medical imaging to treat medical issues that are so small that your hands couldn't do the work without special tools.
When you learn from online courses on Coursera, you can start with an overview course that teaches you the basics of anatomy or medical imaging. You can move on to more specialized topics like medical imaging for specific areas of the body or how artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the radiology industry. Courses give you the chance to learn about AI in health care, too, as well as neurohacking in R and medical applications of particle accelerators.
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