Becoming a Radiation Oncology Patient

Expert Care from Great River Medical Center

Doctor holding oncology patient hand

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 appointment.

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

Treatment

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.

Our Medical Staff