Oncologic Imaging | Diagnostic and Medical Imaging

Oncologic Imaging

We offer the latest oncologic imaging services, part of our commitment to the best possible cancer and tumor care.

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Morris, M.D. on Aug. 23, 2023.

Male patient in an exam room smiling at a female physician who is touching his shoulder

Exceptional Cancer Scans and Tumor Imaging

Oncologic imaging is one of many services available through the nationally recognized UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. We use various methods to diagnose tumors and cancer, plan treatments and determine whether they are working.

You receive services from highly skilled experts from our Department of Radiology, some of whom have developed pioneering techniques. Our services are available in locations throughout the region, so it’s easier to receive the care you need close to home.

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Types of Oncologic Imaging

UC Davis Health has radiologists specializing in many imaging types, enabling us to catch tumors and cancer in earlier stages. Our areas of expertise include abdominal imaging, musculoskeletal radiology, neuroradiology and nuclear medicine.

CT (Computed Tomography) Scan

We take a series of X-rays and use special technology to show cross-sections of organs and nearby structures. CT scans sometimes involve a special dye to make certain tissue easier to see.


MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses a strong magnet, radio waves and special software to create 3D images inside your body. This method details the tumor’s precise size, shape and location.


Mammography uses low-intensity X-rays to capture images of your breasts. It’s one of our many breast imaging services for screening and diagnosing cancer.

PET Scan

PET (positron emission tomography) scans use a radioactive substance to detect unusual cell activity, like cancer. UC Davis Health is among the first programs to use the ultra-fast EXPLORER Total Body PET Scanner.

Optical Imaging Technologies

UC Davis Health researchers pioneered this innovative method, which measures the light that different types of tissue give off. It enables experts to detect tumor tissue during surgery, ensuring we remove it entirely.

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Referring Physicians

To refer a patient, you can submit an electronic referral form or call.



For questions and appointment information

Preparing for Cancer Scans

We explain the type of oncologic imaging you need and how it works. Our team answers all questions you may have and takes extra steps to help you have a comfortable experience. For studies like MRIs that involve lying in confined spaces, we offer medications to help you relax.

  • Close-up of a patient sitting down while a provider holds their hand reassuringly

    Before Tumor Imaging

    We tell you how to prepare, which may involve not eating or drinking a few hours before your scan. You may also need to remove jewelry and change into a hospital gown.

  • Female provider smiling down at a female patient lying on a table before a scan

    During Tumor Imaging

    During your scan, we ask you to sit or lie still and hold your breath. Doing so ensures the highest quality image and accurate interpretations.

  • Over-the-shoulder shot of a male provider in a lab looking at brain images

    After Cancer Scans

    Technicians check the images for errors before sending them to the oncologic radiologist. The radiologist interprets the scan and shares the findings with your referring provider. You may be able to view results on MyUCDavisHealth or during your next visit with your care team.

Oncologic Imaging Safety

It’s natural to be curious about radiation exposure and other safety concerns when you need tumor imaging. At UC Davis Health, you can breathe a little easier knowing our team holds themselves to the highest quality standards.

Appropriate Care

As oncologic imaging specialists, we recommend the most appropriate type of imaging for your needs.

Advanced Technologies

We use the best available equipment, which often helps us conduct scans quickly with less radiation exposure.

Personalized Approach

We take special precautions to avoid complications if you have implanted medical devices or kidney issues or could be pregnant.

Awards and Recognitions
USNWR Best Hospital badge

Ranked among the nation’s best hospitals

A U.S. News & World Report best hospital in cancer, cardiology, heart & vascular surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, ENT, geriatrics, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics, and pulmonology & lung surgery.

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US News & World Report best Children’s Hospital badge

Ranked among the nation’s best children’s hospitals

A U.S. News & World Report best children’s hospital in diabetes & endocrinology, nephrology, and orthopedics*. (*Together with Shriners Children’s)

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USNWR best regional hospital badge

Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital

Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital by U.S. News, and high-performing in back surgery, COPD, colon cancer surgery, gynecological cancer surgery, heart attack, heart failure, hip fracture, kidney failure, leukemia, lymphoma & myeloma, lung cancer surgery, pneumonia, prostate cancer surgery, stroke, TAVR, and gastroenterology & GI surgery.

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Magnet designation badge

The nation’s highest nursing honor

UC Davis Medical Center has received Magnet® recognition, the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence.

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Chime acute badge

“Most Wired” for acute care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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Chime ambulatory badge

“Most Wired” for ambulatory care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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NCI badge

World-class cancer care

One of ~56 U.S. cancer centers designated “comprehensive” by the National Cancer Institute.

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A leader in health care equality

For the 13th consecutive year, UC Davis Medical Center has been recognized as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader by the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization.

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