Generally your physician will contact us through fax, email, or telephone and refer you to our clinic. Patients may also self-refer. Your referring physician will usually send us pertinent medical information that you have authorized for release. Our clinic staff will inform you if you need to bring any images with you for your appointment.
Patients are usually seen for an initial consultation after all relevant information has been obtained. Occasionally additional studies may be ordered. This initial consultation will include educational information from physicians, physician assistants, and nurses. The patient’s medical history and recent studies are reviewed with the patient, followed by a physical examination. A suggested course of treatment will be given, often after additional communication with your referring physicians.
On a subsequent day, a simulation procedure is performed. A simulation procedure is usually performed on a diagnostic quality CT scan. This CT scan has a opening that is larger than scans used for diagnosis so that patients can be scanned in the treatment position. Lasers inside the CT scan provide reference marks on the patient. Images from this simulation CT scan are often fused with PET scans or MRI scans. This fusion process enables us to base treatment on all available imaging modalities.
The simulation images are then sent to radiation treatment planning computers. Dosimetrists, physicists, and physicians work together to provide three dimensional radiation that conforms precisely to the shape of the tumor. This 3D shaping process also takes into account the safe tolerance limits of adjacent normal body parts. The planning process can occur over a couple of days to two weeks. After the radiation physician has approved the plan, it is reviewed by dosimetrists and physicists. After the treatment plan is complete, the patient is scheduled to begin treatment.
St. Luke’s Hospital and the Radiation Oncology Physicians accept a very broad range of insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. For questions about your specific policy please contact the insurance specialists at 832-355-7118 or 713-526-8860.