Becoming a Radiation Oncology Patient
Expert Care from Great River Health System
Patients may be referred to our cancer center for radiation therapy by
a family or internal medicine physician, surgeon, medical oncologist or
another medical specialist. All medical reports, diagnostic imaging results
and records, and laboratory test results must be received before the first
At the first appointment, patients should bring:
- Completed forms
- Driver’s license or photo ID
- Insurance cards
- List of medicines they are taking, including dosages and times taken
The appointment will take between one and two hours. During the consultation,
William Rockey, MD, PhD, discusses patients’ medical history, diseases and symptoms.
Dr. Rockey will:
- Decide if radiation is appropriate
- Recommend a course of treatment
- Review potential side effects
- Answer patients’ and family members’ questions
After making an informed decision to have radiation treatment, patients
return to the clinic for a computerized tomography (CT) scan, which creates
a series of X-rays taken from different angles that produce a high-resolution
image of the tumor and surrounding area. They also may need other tests
such as X-rays and laboratory tests.
The information gathered from the CT scan is loaded into a three-dimensional
treatment-planning software system to precisely define the treatment area.
A medical physicist and a dosimetrist create the treatment plan, charting
in detail how much radiation the patient should receive and how it is
to be delivered.
When the plan is ready, the first treatment is scheduled.
A personalized approach to your care
Because people and cancers are unique, treatment is different for everyone.
Patients receive specific information about the length and frequency of
treatments, which are given Monday through Friday. Treatments may be changed
several times as the tumor responds to treatment, prescribed doses are
reached or patients’ conditions change.
After treatment is completed, follow-up visits continue for at least 10
years. Our team will help you schedule these checkups and ensure we remain
vigilant about your health.