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My career journey as a medical physicist

When it came to a point where I was considering what to study at university, I had no idea what I wanted to do career-wise (I had seriously considered becoming an astronaut, but then realised that wouldn’t work with my fear of flying…). However, one thing I did know was that I loved physics.

Fact: Radiotherapy uses high energy X-rays to treat certain diseases – usually different types of cancer.

I did my Physics BSc at Durham University and the course included many core areas of pure physics such as electromagnetic waves/fields, particle physics, quantum physics and theoretical physics. Towards the end of my degree I had started to think about careers or further study. I knew I wanted to apply my knowledge of physics to a job rather than continue studying full-time, but I really wasn’t sure of the careers that were relevant or suitable for me. After a discussion with a career’s adviser, I realised that medical physics might be something I would be interested in – it combined a lot of physics principles with helping improve people’s lives, which I thought would be a really valuable career in terms of the impact this could have on many people, in addition to performing cutting-edge research and the opportunity to help advance cancer treatments.

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Jen Cannon
Clinical Scientist, James Cook University Hospital

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