Radiologist – Dr Anthony Felber
NAME: Dr Anthony Felber
PROFESSIONAL TITLE: Radiologist
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN YOUR ROLE FOR? 27 years
WHERE DO YOU WORK: Epworth Medical Imaging, Epworth Hospital, Richmond
WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE?
Radiologists are imaging specialists. We interpret X-Rays, CT Scans, Ultrasound, MRI and PET scans. I have also trained as an Interventional Radiologist, giving me the additional ability to perform more complex procedures under imaging control, such as obtaining small samples of tissue for analysis from various organs e.g. the liver
HOW DO YOU FIT INTO THE PATIENT’S CANCER TREATMENT TEAM?
Radiologists are sometimes the first person to raise the suspicion that someone has cancer. We may detect an incidental finding during a scan that patients are having for a completely different reason, such as a small curable kidney cancer detected on a CT scan of the lumbar spine for back pain.
We are of course also involved in the mass screening of well women in the National Breast Screen Program.
We are involved in obtaining tissue for diagnosis using various biopsy techniques, providing access for intravenous therapy using indwelling catheters such as PICC lines or Ports and of course in reviewing and comparing all interval/surveillance scans. These scans are used to help determine the response to treatment.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
As an Interventional Radiologist, I have the constant privilege of interacting with patients as I am performing procedures. Nearly all radiology procedures are performed with no or minor sedation. During those short encounters, I have had the opportunity of sharing small portions of patient’s lives (and mine).
I work with wonderful sonographers, radiographers and nurses. Between us, we try and make the time in our care one without discomfort and even with some humour when possible.
On an equal level, it is a privilege to work with fine, dedicated and knowledgeable colleagues. The value of the team is always greater than the sum of the individuals involved.
Participating in Multi-Disciplinary Meetings (MDM) where patients are discussed amongst all the various treating specialties has been a fundamental change and allows the intricacies of all cases to be explored fully. This provides great professional satisfaction to all that participate. Presenting to your peers and colleagues validates one’s continuing value to the team.
ARE THERE ANY CHALLENGES TO YOUR ROLE?
The field of radiology has exponentially increased in complexity since I first trained. This will continue. Acquisition of knowledge remains paramount. Also, as the complexity has increased, so has the volume of imaging. Many patients will have multiple scans using multiple modalities. The time needed to carefully evaluate and compare these is becoming an issue for our profession.
Universal high quality radiology input is also not yet there. Teleradiology has helped, however simple interventional radiology services are yet to spread to the more remote parts of Australia.
WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR ROLE IS IMPORTANT FOR CANCER PATIENTS?
Imaging has become a driver of care in many situations. A particular interpretation of a scan may lead to alteration in a treatment regimen. The imaging alone may be the sole method of determining response to treatment.
A Radiologist’s expert and accurate interpretation of the scans remains our most important role.
ARE THERE ANY COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
Unfortunately, the Radiologist may sometimes be anonymous to the patient. If no image guided procedure has been performed, a patient may never see a Radiologist. We are however always there in the background.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT IN YOUR CAREER?
I would say that age and experience has taught me to be extremely humble as to my own role in the provision of medical care. Any one clinician may appear as the starring role at a particular moment, however all of us are just small pieces in the jigsaw puzzle of medical care.
I continue to learn from my patients. Strength, dignity, vulnerability, fragility and humour are all presented to me. The support of their families and friends has also been an inspiration to see.
IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO CANCER PATIENTS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
If you have a type of cancer that can be presented at a Multi Disciplinary Meeting, (MDM) ask that your case be presented.
ARE THERE ANY ORGANISATIONS OR USEFUL WEB LINKS THAT YOU RECOMMEND FOR PATIENTS?
INSIDE RADIOLOGY- www.insideradiology.com.au will introduce you to the exciting and adventurous world of Radiology.
ANY OTHER ADDITIONAL INFORMATION YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?
Kale is very disappointing.