Your Visit

During your initial consultation visit your radiation oncologist will review your past medical history, diagnostic testing including all X-Ray, MRI, CT, PET exams, lab results, and any other relevant information. Together, you and your physician will determine the best course of treatment. Your doctor will allow ample time for questions and answers and our experienced nurses will help guide you through the process.


Imaging has always played a significant role in radiation therapy as a part of the treatment planning process. Radiation therapy uses imaging to identify the tumor as well as surrounding healthy tissue. In general, the aim is to target the tumor and spare the surrounding tissues as much as possible. 

CT Simulation
If you and your radiation oncologist decide that radiation therapy is right for you, you will need to have a CT scan done so that your treatment can be planned. During the scan you will be asked to remain as still as possible. This enables your position to be recreated during your treatments. You will be scanned several times as our staff work to get you in the perfect place. Lasers will be used to line up your body to ensure that your position can be recreated on the treatment machines. 

MRI Simulation
While CT is used as the standard imaging modality, it may have limitations in providing good soft tissue contrast, especially in regions where soft tissue structures are in close proximity to each other In this context, the benefits of MRI for radiation therapy treatment planning are long recognized. 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been shown to provide valuable additional information for many tumor sites due to its ability to display soft tissue. The advantages of using MRI for radiotherapy treatment planning (RTP) have been well established for many tumor sites including the brain, head and neck, breast, prostate and cervix. 

Essentially, if your physician decides you need an MRI simulation, the process to get your positioning the most accurate for your treatments will be the same as CT Simulation.

Your First Treatment

On the day of your first treatment you will be asked to lie in the same position as during your CT simulation or MRI simulation. The therapists will position you and take a series of pictures to ensure that your current position matches up with your previous images. Once this is completed your physician will double-check to make sure everything is correct. After your treatment you will receive a card with your appointment times and a bar code. This bar code will allow you to “check-in” automatically without having to wait in the registration lobby. Your daily treatments will generally be shorter than your first treatment and most appointments last 10-20 minutes.

Follow Up

Most patients will return for follow-up 3 months after their last treatment and once per year for 5 years.

The National Cancer Institute offers an extensive amount of information on follow-up care after cancer treatment.