TechFest inspires young minds to make a difference Sep 14 2018 | TechFest

With someone in the UK diagnosed with cancer every two minutes, TechFest 2018 is inspiring young scientists to explore the potential of radiation technology and which skills are required in the industry.

Supported by joint principal sponsors BP and Shell, one of the aims of TechFest’s annual festival of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is to engage young people in the four STEM subjects and encourage them to go on to follow a career which utilises these skills by demonstrating that they are both fun and relevant in day to day life.

The 2018 Public Programme, which is sponsored by Equinor, will run until September 22.

As part of this year’s programme, Radiation Therapy for Cancer Treatment: Insights into the Profession, presented by medical physicist and radiation therapist Sonal Bhadane, will explore the nature of cancer, how radiation therapy is used to treat the disease and the variety of occupations in the industry.

Current technological advances make it possible to treat and in some cases cure cancer with such high accuracy allowing for minimal side effects and a normal chance at life.

Radiation therapy is one of the most successful treatment options, not only helping to shrink the tumour, but also potentially killing the tumour cells and in turn leading to recovery.

According to Cancer Research UK, one in two people in the UK will get cancer in their lifetime and although cancer is a group of diseases that is constantly changing, thanks to worldwide research in this field, many people see hope that a cure will be discovered for all branches of the disease.

Many more scientists and engineers are needed for the development of new cutting-edge technology that not only helps to understand cancer, but also helps to get one step closer to curing it.

Sonal, who founded Talking Science, a new platform to raise awareness of STEM, is on a mission to inspire young minds and help them to develop and cultivate their interests in STEM by demonstrating future opportunities and how they can make a difference.

“There is huge potential in cancer research and cure technologies,” Sonal said. “The radiation therapy field needs not only researchers but also radiation therapists, medical physicists, radiation therapy nurses, oncologists and many more scientists and engineers who can make a huge difference in a life of a cancer patient, whether that be directly or indirectly.

“Cancer can be challenging for patients and those who care for them, such as family and specialists. Treatment takes not only the knowledge of biology and physics but also great soft skills such as empathy, communication and problem solving, which is why I will be discussing the life skills needed to persist in this career based on my experiences.”

During the presentation, Sonal will share insights into what cancer is and real-life experiences of being a professional involved in the care of cancer patients.

The variety of occupations in radiation therapy will also be discussed in addition to the technical skills needed to pursue such careers.

Sonal added: “The great physicist, Marie Curie, once said, ‘Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.’ Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally and that is why it is feared greatly.

“We are yet to understand cancer entirely, however times are changing, and we are getting closer to discovering how we can defeat this disease, but we are not there yet.

“This presentation focuses on encouraging our next generation to understand how their choices in STEM careers, especially in the field of radiation technology, can help make a difference to the lives of people they care about.”

Sarah Chew, managing director at TechFest, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming Sonal Bhadane to this year’s TechFest festival to present about a topic which affects many people across the globe.

“The festival offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about a wide scope of subjects while gaining insight from industry professionals, such as Sonal, who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and inspiring the next generation to build upon their interest in STEM subjects, to one day, be part of improving the lives of people in the future.”

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