Radiation Therapy – Questions often asked – Imaging
Imaging is used to study and confirm your
position before we start your treatment.
The type and rate of imaging depends on the
unique types of your treatment plan.
There may be a delay between when you are
imaged and when your treatment begins
while your treatment team reviews your
What does imaging mean?
Imaging is a general term for any type of x-
ray image. We may also call it a picture,
image or x-ray.
Why do I have imaging some days
and not on other days?
The rate of imaging varies from one day per
week to every day. This depends on many
factors such as your treatment site, your
setup and or the doctor’s orders. Your
treatment therapists use a specific set of
rules to define when you need imaging.
Why do some patients require more
imaging than others?
Some treatment setups are more difficult
than others depending on the location and
size of the region being treated. The goal of
your treatment therapist(s) is to position you
in the same position as you were at the time
of simulation. Sometimes this can be
difficult because the body can move in so
many different ways.
What does it mean if my image
“looks good” or “lines up well”?
This means that your treatment image shows
that your body is in the correct spot for
treatment. Treatment images are always
checked for correctness before beginning
Should I be worried about the extra
radiation dose from images?
The radiation dose that you receive from
imaging is very small compared to the dose
you receive from your treatment. While we
strive to limit the extra dose from imaging,
our first goal is always to make sure you are
What can I do to help make the
setup more accurate?
Your most important job during your
radiation treatment is to hold still. Please let
us know if at any time you are
uncomfortable or you feel like you cannot
hold still. Your treatment therapists can see
and hear you at all times during your
treatment and will watch for any signs of
discomfort or motion.
When I’ve have other x-rays (like at
the dentist) they have used lead
shielding. Why don’t you use any
Because of what we need to see in our
images, we use stronger (higher energy) x-
rays for imaging compared to your dentist.
This means that a lead apron would not be
an effective shield.
Can you tell if my tumor is
changing from imaging?
The images are not diagnostic quality, so
rarely can your tumor be seen on the image.
The purpose of the images is to make sure
you are in the correct position for treatment.
Your doctor is evaluating your images
throughout your treatment. You can talk
with your doctor about their meaning.
What if I have more questions
about my treatment imaging?
Please let your treatment therapists know
and they can help, or they can refer you to
an additional member of your treatment
team to give you more information. We
always welcome your feedback.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 7/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7913