Joseph Ankrah, Nuclear Medicine Technologist
As a Nuclear Medicine Technologist, Joseph Ankrah works with patients of varying ages and disease types on the second floor of Smilow Cancer Hospital. He is involved with the scheduling of patients, as well as preparing and administering radioisotopes and conducting imaging procedures. Coming to the United States after a decade of service with the Ecowas Monitoring Group in Liberia, Joseph was looking for a position that better suited his personality and has been at Smilow since it opened.
"This is a very humbling field," said Joseph. "About 85 percent of our patients are newly diagnosed or have a recurrence of cancer, and all have some degree of anxiety when they come in. I make it my mission to remind them that this is not the end for them, they have tomorrow, and nowadays the treatments available to them are providing many, many tomorrows."
Every treatment protocol is different and the field is constantly evolving. It requires constant training and education. Joseph works with radiologists providing iodine for thyroid cancer therapy, LutaThera for neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), radium to target prostate cancers with bone metastasis, and Y90 for carcinoid tumors.
Joseph also works with patients with melanoma, multiple myeloma, breast cancer, and other types of cancer and conducts PET scans, as well as PET axumin for prostate cancer and PET amyloid for brain tumors. He also helps with spect CT for brain scans, parathyroid scans, and bone scans.
Michele Pepe, CNMT BS, Senior Manager for Nuclear Medicine & PET CT Patient Experience in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, commented, "Joseph provides the highest quality of care to our patients and families. I receive numerous accolades from patients expressing how great Joseph was in their care and how he made them laugh and forget why they were here. Joseph also comes in after hours to do phantom testing for clinical trials which cannot be performed during normal business hours due to the use of various radioisotopes."