The International Day of Radiology (IDoR) takes place in just a couple of days’ time, on November 8, and this year the focus is on lung imaging. The ESR chose to approach this theme by creating a book on the subject, with the help of the European Society of Thoracic Imaging (ESTI), which will be published to coincide with this year’s IDoR.
ESTI board members, including several contributors to the forthcoming book, gathered in Vienna recently to discuss plans for their society, so we took the opportunity to ask them why it is necessary to inform the public of the importance of radiology in healthcare.
“Doctors form a team, and in this team radiologists are a very important group, but their role is not so well known. A lot of people think that we are only photographers, but we have a crucial role in making a diagnosis. It’s important for the public to know what role we play,” said Doctor Eva CastaÑer González, a radiologist working at the Corporació Parc Taulí in Sabadell, Spain.
“Many patients don’t exactly know what the role of the radiologist is. They think it’s a technical role, and they don’t realise that we play as much of a role in their management as their oncologist, for instance. In particular, in patients with cancer, we are responsible for the therapeutic decision, which means that if radiologists consider that the disease to be in progression, we will change the chemotherapy, for instance. So we have a big responsibility in their management, and not just a technical role,” said Marie-Pierre Revel, a professor of radiology at Cochin Hospital, Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, France.
IDoR was launched last year by the European Society of Radiology (ESR), the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR). Organisers chose November 8, the day that Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered x-rays in 1895, as a day to raise awareness of the medical and scientific benefits of medical imaging and the value that radiology contributes to safe patient care.
Last year, the day focused on oncologic imaging and this time it was decided to concentrate on lung imaging, to highlight the central role that radiology plays in the detection, diagnosis and management of a wide variety of lung diseases.
“Thoracic imaging is a very important topic because lung damage is a prognostic factor in many diseases. In addition, lung cancer is the main cause of cancer-related deaths in men and will soon be for women. The lung or thoracic image is also, after Röntgen’s hand, the second most well-known radiological image. Finally, chest x-rays are, after ECG, the second most prescribed medical act in the world,” Revel said.
“The lung is one of the vital organs, so if you have a pulmonary disease, it can be very limiting for the quality of life, for instance if you are suffering from shortness of breath. This is why imaging of the lung is so important. And then for instance lung cancer is one of the most devastating cancers and one of the most common tumours,” added Cornelia Schaefer-Prokop, an associate professor of radiology at Hanover Medical School, Germany, and radiologist at Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.
The book produced by the ESR and ESTI to mark this year’s IDoR features interviews with thoracic imaging experts and representatives of patient organisations, as well as articles written by European and American radiologists.
Schaefer-Prokop, who is ESTI president, explained how meaningful her society’s participation in IDoR is this year. “It gives us the opportunity to explain what imaging of the lung means, what we are doing, and what are the new advances in new technologies,” she said.
ESTI members also took the exercise as an opportunity to re-evaluate the value of their profession. “It made us ask ourselves questions about our specialty, about what we do and the public perception of it,” Revel said.
“For me, it was interesting to summarise lung cancer screening results, and it was stimulating to summarise these results using a simple language to make these concepts easy to understand for the public and general radiologists. At the same time, this allowed me to better feel and weight the importance of these results,” added Doctor Nicola Sverzellati, a radiologist working at Parma University Hospital in Italy.
More than 100 societies from all over the world have confirmed their participation in the International Day of Radiology, many of whom will arrange their own activities, such as public lectures, departmental open days, national media appearances and press events. The Spanish Society of Radiology (SERAM) will for instance hold a public event in Madrid with a series of lectures given by radiologists and a patient organisation representative on topics such as lung fibrosis and hypertension. In London, the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) will hold a dedicated meeting on hot topics in thoracic imaging. In India, the Indian Radiological & Imaging Association (IRIA) has invited radiology residents to submit scientific papers on lung imaging, and the best papers will be presented at a special event in New Delhi on November 8. For more IDoR events, see the activities page of the IDoR website.
Patient organisations have decided to support the initiative this year, by helping inform the public about the importance of imaging in the fight against lung diseases. The European Lung Foundation and the European Patients Forum, which represents patient groups from all over Europe, are now helping IDoR reach the most important stakeholder; the patient.
This will positively affect the impact of IDoR on the public, Schaefer-Prokop believes. “I think it makes it more realistic, because you approach the problem from both sides. I, as a radiologist, do not always understand what the needs and questions are, what patients know and what they don’t know. So I think it makes it more realistic and natural to approach it from both sides,” she said.
More information about the International Day of Radiology can be found on the official International Day of Radiology website: www.internationaldayofradiology.com.
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European Society of Radiology – ESR
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