- What is the difference between a radiology report and radiology films or scans?
- Why is my doctor requesting the scans?
- How do I obtain the scans?
- What scans should I request?
- In what format will the scans be provided?
- Where should I send the scans?
- How should the scans be packed?
- Can I get a copy of the scans for myself?
- What should I do if the scans are lost?
- Are there fees for obtaining and reviewing the scans?
- Will I need radiology scans for follow-up appointments?
A report provides the findings of a radiologist who reviews your films, also called scans. Films or scans are images such as an X-ray or magnetic resonance image (MRI). During your first appointment, your doctor will ask to see your radiology reports and films.
Your UCSF doctor may review the radiology report as a starting point to plan your treatment. Scans are used to confirm the diagnosis and plan the surgery or other treatment. Your radiology films will be reviewed by UCSF radiologists who collaborate with your doctor.
Call the hospital or facility where the scans were performed. If you call a hospital, ask for the Radiology department. UCSF prefers scans to be on CD ROMs, which stands for "compact disc read-only memory." Please ask that the CDs are provided in DICOM format, which stands for "digital imaging and communications in medicine." Radiology may request that you sign a release to provide the scans. A release form for UCSF Medical Center is available online. This release also can be used for your medical records and tissue slides.
Request any scans related to the disease for which you are being referred to us. These include:
- Bone scan
- Computerized tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
- Standard X-rays
Information about ultrasound results are provided in a report.
Scans traditionally have been oversized, black translucent films but increasingly they are saved on a compact disc (CD).
Please send your scans to the UCSF clinic where your appointment is scheduled. If you have CD ROMs, please use a major shipping company, such as FedEx or UPS, so you can obtain a tracking number and confim delivery. Please send them a week before your appointment so we have time to download the CDs and review the scans. You also can deliver the CD ROMs in person.
If you have translucent film, you may bring them with you to your appointment.
If you have translucent film, please keep in mind that they are fragile. They may bend, causing a kink that can make reviewing the films difficult. These films should be packed in a stiff oversized envelope, which may be provided by Radiology. If the scans are on CDs, they should be packed for sending in a bubble-wrap envelope since the disc can be scratched, bent or shattered.
If your scans are saved to CDs, please request two copies. To protect your privacy, we destroy all CDs after downloading the scans to our radiology system. Copies of translucent films can be retrieved after they have been reviewed. It may take several weeks to complete the review. Original translucent films will be sent back to the facility that provided them.
Most radiology films are stored on computers. If a film is lost, you can usually request a copy from the hospital where the scan was performed. Please confirm that the hospital has another copy before taking a scan.
The hospital providing the films may ask that you pay the FedEx or UPS charges. If the films are lost, there could be a fee to replace the films. When UCSF Radiology reviews the films for a second opinion, it charges a fee. Typically, your insurance plan will cover the cost and our staff will seek an authorization from your insurance company.
Yes, if you continue to receive care at UCSF and your radiology tests aren't performed here, please bring all new radiology films and reports to your UCSF appointments.
To learn more, please visit FAQ: Cancer Pathology Tissue Slides.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.
FAQ: Cancer Pathology Tissue Slides
Find frequently asked questions regarding cancer pathology tissue slides, such as how to obtain the slides and what to do with them once you do.
Self-Care for Caregivers
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Communicating with Your Doctor
The relationship with a doctor is a very personal one, built on communication and trust. In choosing a doctor, the "chemistry" between the two of you must work.
Coping with Chemotherapy
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Delegation to Help with Fatigue
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Evaluating Health Information
Health information can be extremely useful, empowering us to make important health decisions. However, it also can be confusing and overwhelming. Learn more.
Hospice, which now exists in every state, provides home care and support for terminally ill patients. Learn more about the criteria and costs here.
Managing Your Treatment
Living with or caring for someone with cancer can be a full-time job. Here are some tips to reduce stress and help navigate the disease more effectively.
Nutrition and Coping with Cancer Symptoms
Side effects of cancer treatment may affect your eating pattern, requiring new ways to get the calories, protein and nutrients that you need. Learn more.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Your time with the doctor is limited, thus it's helpful to prepare for the visit in advance by prioritizing the questions that are important to you. Learn more.
Resources for End of Life
The UCSF Cancer Resource Center has a list of bereavement support groups, counselors, hospice and others dealing with end-of-life issues. Learn more.
Tips for Conserving Your Energy
Cancer and cancer therapy can be accompanied by feelings of extreme fatigue. To help you deal with this fatigue, follow these easy tips help conserve energy.
Using a Medical Calendar and Symptom Log
Take time at the end of each day or each week to reflect back on the symptoms you've had. You can use a calendar to track your symptoms. Learn more here.
Cancer Survivorship and Wellness Institute
Bakar Precision Cancer Medicine Building
1600 Divisidero St., Fourth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94115
Bakar Precision Cancer Medicine Building
1600 Divisadero St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
Art for Recovery
Creativity can help people with serious illnesses cope, heal and express what they're going through. Find out about our program and how to join.
Cancer Exercise Counseling
Our one-on-one exercise training sessions, customized for your needs and abilities, can complement other cancer treatments and speed your recovery.
Cancer Support Groups
Support groups held by the Ida and Joseph Friend Patient and Family Cancer Support Center are free and available to all patients, whether or not you get your health care at UCSF.
Core and More Class
A strong body helps you fight cancer and enjoy life. Join this class to stabilize your core, strengthen your muscles and improve overall fitness. For cancer patients and caregivers!
Friend to Friend Gift Shop
A one-stop boutique for patients with cancer. Get professional help with wigs, prostheses, sun-protective clothing, makeup, skin care and more.
Meditation and Guided Imagery for Cancer Patients
Drop in for a free class designed to help you heal, relax and find balance during your treatment. UCSF and non-UCSF patients are welcome.
Oncology Social Work
Social workers can be key members of your cancer care team. Reach out for support, problem solving and help accessing UCSF's many cancer-related resources.
Patient and Family Cancer Support Center
You'll find support groups, classes, a library, treatment information, special events and much more to promote wellness and healing for patients and families.
Peer Support Program for Cancer
Patients are matched with peer support volunteers according to criteria such as diagnosis, cancer stage, age or gender. Speak to someone who's "been there."
Restorative Movement Class
Explore simple movements that help you feel more powerful and comfortable in your body. This fun and free UCSF class is aimed at those in recovery from cancer.
Pamper yourself while fighting cancer. Free treatments for patients receiving chemotherapy at our Mount Zion campus include massage, acupressure and more.