Dave Willis

Chief Radiation Therapist
North West Cancer Centre, Tamworth NSW

I grew up in a small town in country Victoria and initially learnt about radiation therapy through my high school physics teacher. I had never heard about radiation therapy prior to this but once I starting learning more about it, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

I completed my radiation therapy study in Melbourne and then moved to the United Kingdom soon after becoming a qualified radiation therapist. I enjoyed the travel and the experience and tried a few different roles including medical software testing but I found that I much preferred working with patients as a radiation therapist. I continued my career working as a radiation therapist when I returned to Melbourne working at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and also completed a Masters in IT which focused on human computer interaction in Radiation Oncology.

I spent 11 years in the paediatric unit at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and led a number of projects that aimed to improve the treatment experience for kids. This ranged from things as simple as rigging up ipods so they could watch cartoons during treatment to producing individual movies about their treatment to help them explain it to their mates.

After a long time living in the city, I’ve recently been able to move back to the country, taking up the role of Chief Radiation Therapist at the North West Cancer Centre in Tamworth.  It’s a brand new centre so there are plenty of challenges, but my family and I love the extra space and laid back lifestyle.

What I like most about being a Radiation Oncology professional is coming up with solutions that have a positive impact on people’s lives. Some of the perks of my career in Radiation Oncology have included my involvement in paediatrics and research which has allowed me to meet some great people, travel and have some experiences I never imagined when I first got into the job. The prime example is organising events where patients and their families get taken for hot laps in sports cars!

A career in Radiation Oncology is not something I recommend to just anyone.  I think it’s a great career for people who are looking for a balance of people and technology and there is always more to learn. You’ve got to be able to relate to people, work as part of a team and think laterally.  Sometimes you need to multi-task and other times you need absolute focus.