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Abbott Northwestern Hospital

  Cancer Care

Radiation Oncology

Allina's Virginia Piper Cancer Institute has installed the Trilogy Linear Accelerator with RapidArc™ at its Radiation Oncology Clinic at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

To contact us with questions or to make an appointment, please call

A program of:

The Virginia Piper Cancer Institute's Radiation Oncology Center has been a leader in specialized services for more than a decade.

We are:

  • the first Minnesota center to treat patients with intensity modulated radiation therapy
  • one several centers in Minnesota to use high dose rate brachytherapy
  • one of a handful of centers in Minnesota to use stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy
  • only center in the Twin Cities metro to offer two Trilogy linear accelerators with volumetric arc therapy (VMAT) intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatment delivery.

Photo tour of Radiation Oncology Center

Our staff

The Virginia Piper Cancer Institute's Radiation Oncology Center is defined by its dedicated, passionate staff and highly experienced physician leadership. We merge superior technical capabilities with an expert staff.

The team participates in weekly treatment planning conferences to review recent cases. This helps improve the consistency and quality of care.

The care team includes:

Advanced treatment capabilities

The Radiation Oncology Center embraces the use of cutting-edge treatment techniques by adopting new technology early and aggressively.

Consultations and treatment planning

Treatment planning

Upon a referral from an oncologist, surgeon or primary care physician, a patient meets with one of our radiation oncologists and radiation oncology nurses.

At the consultation appointment, the following takes place:

  • The patient's condition is evaluated through medical history, a physical exam and previous medical tests, such as X-rays.
  • Diagnostic tests may be arranged to fully research treatment options.
  • The role of radiation therapy in cancer treatment is explained.
  • Options, treatment goals and next steps are discussed.
  • A patient might visit with other oncology specialists about their treatment choices.
  • A patient will also be asked to sign a consent form to advance to treatment planning.

After the consultation, treatment planning begins – the next step in evaluating your condition before undergoing radiation therapy. After radiation therapy is chosen as the way to treat a patient's cancer, treatment planning begins.

Treatment planning means the radiation therapy team determines technique, type of therapy, dosage, frequency and duration of treatments. The key component to treatment planning is through a process called simulation – the design of the actual treatment technique, including patient positioning and immobilization devices.

The first step in simulation is to physically position the patient with the equipment as though they would be treated. The tumor region is located and the treatment area is marked.

Once the immobilization device is created, the patient will have a special treatment planning computed tomography (CT) scan and in some cases, special magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a positron emission tomography (PET) scan for further tumor localization. The treatment planning team then reviews all the information provided to design the best treatment plan.

The particular type of radiation therapy is determined and a treatment plan is developed to provide the safest and most effective treatment. The radiation oncologist, along with the patient's oncologist and primary care physician, outline the course of treatment for the patient.

National recognition

The Radiation Oncology Center at the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute - Abbott Northwestern Hospital is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR). To learn more about this accreditation, go to

Source: Virginia Piper Cancer Institute; Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 28th edition
Reviewed by: Katie Schwarzkopf, manager, Radiation Oncology Program, Virginia Piper Cancer Institute
First Published: 02/17/2010
Last Reviewed: 03/05/2014