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General Help Questions


Please see the Data Usage Policies and Restrictions page for any questions about how our data can be used.


Table of Contents

Questions about The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA) Website


1. Do you have a User's Guide?

A detailed TCIA user's guide can be obtained by clicking on on TCIA User User’s Guide.

2. How do I contact TCIA Help Desk?

The TCIA Help Desk can be reached in one of two ways:

  1. By email:
  2. By phone or text message: +1 314-747-4254
    385-275-8242 (+1 385 ASK-TCIA)

3. What are the hours of operation for TCIA Help Desk?

The hours of operation are 67:30am 00 am to 5:00pm 00 pm CST, MMonday-F.  Although Friday. Although the Help Desk is closed weekends and holidays, you can submit a request can be submitted at any time.  Holiday Holiday hours and further information may be found herefound on our Support page.

4. What if I have questions on navigating TCIA website?

The The TCIA User's Guide should  should provide all the direction you need.  If you have additional questions please contact TCIA Help Desk. Simply call (+1 314-747-4254) or send an email to the TCIA Help Desk.
 Please contact TCIA’s Help Desk with additional questions by calling or texting +1 385-275-8242 (+1 385 ASK-TCIA) or sending an email to

5. What if I am unable to connect to TCIA website?

Please contact TCIA TCIA’s Help Desk . Simply call (+1 314385-747-4254275-8242, voice or text ) or send us an email ( to the TCIA Help Desk).  

6. How do I submit feedback to TCIA website?

We welcome and appreciate your comments.   Feedback maybe submitted via

7. What if I am being prompted to enter a verification code, but there is no verification code available and no place to type it?

A security warning prompt displays and asks "Do you want to view only the webpage content that was delivered securely". Answer NO to the prompt in order to see the captcha information that is used for verification.

Questions About User Accounts:


If you answer YES, the captcha information will NOT display.

Questions about User Accounts

1. Do I need a user account to access TCIA?

Not unless you need to access private collections, or use shared lists. Just search for images without entering login information.

2. When I try to register after entering the captcha phrase, I get a PMW 5033 error or an error message stating, "The PWM configuration is invalid or corrupt. Please correct the error, or remove the configuration file." How do I proceed?

Assuming you are using Internet Explorer, change your browser's language to English by following these steps:

1. From the menu bar, select Tools.
2. Select Internet Options.
3. Click on General > Language and set to English (US).

3. How do I obtain a TCIA user ID and password?

From TCIA login From TCIA’s home page, click on the Register Now link.   Please note that it may take several hours to establish your user account.  You should not try to use your account until you have been notified that the registration process has been completed.
Login buttonImage Added and then click New account.  Remember that you do NOT need a user ID and password unless you need to access private collections. Just search for images without entering login information.

4. What if I have issues pertaining to my TCIA user ID or password?

Assuming that you already have an account, from TCIA login from TCIA’s home page, click on I cannot access my account link.

Questions About Accessing Collections:

click Login buttonImage Added and then clickAccount Help buttonImage Added.

Choose the most appropriate of the following four options: 

  • You have an account but have forgotten your username.
  • You have an account but have forgotten your password.
  • You know your username and password, and would like to change your password.
  • You would like to update your contact information in our system.

If you are still having trouble accessing your account, please contact the TCIA Support Center at or call or text +1.385.275-8242 (+1.385.ASK-TCIA) during business hours for assistance.

Questions about Accessing Collections

1. How do I find additional information about a specific collection?

You can find a list of all collections on the TCIA home page: The middle window on this page is labeled "TCIA Collections".  It contains a list of all collections in TCIA. The orange "Search TCIA" button takes you to the TCIA search page. Typing anything into the "Filter table" input box will restrict the list of collections to those which match the pattern in the box. To access detailed information about a collection, click the link in the "Collection" column. This will take you to a page in the wiki with detailed information about the collection.

You can reference the corresponding wiki pages for any particular collection when you are logged into TCIA. From the search page, in the collection area, mouse over and click on the question mark symbol for information on each collection. If there is a wiki available for the collection, click it.

2. How do I request access to a restricted collection?

Access to To access a restricted collection requires prior approval. Simply call , you can gain approval by calling or texting the Help Desk at +1 385-275-8242 (+1 314-747-4254) or 385 ASK-TCIA), or send an email email to to the TCIA Help Desk. Please indicate the name of the restricted collection.

3. How do I determine the status of a collection that has been submitted?

Please contact TCIA Help Desk . Simply call (+1 314385-747-4254275-8242, voice or text) or send an email ( to the TCIA Help Desk. Please and indicate the name of the collection.

4. Is a listing of all of the modality abbreviations available?

Yes, modality abbreviations are listed here.



about Searching



for Images

1. How do I search and download images as well as find out information about a specific collection?

Using MRI images of the prostate as an example, follow the steps below to download images from a specific collection:

  1. Log into TCIA.
  2. To download all of the MRI prostate images, from the Simple Search filters, select MR under Image Modality and select prostate under Anatomical Site. The Summary tab shows updated pie charts and the number of image series in the search results.
  3. Click the Search Results tab.
  4. Click a Subject ID link to open all series associated with that subject.
  5. Click the cart icon for one or more series. If you select only some of the series, the cart turns yellow. If you select all of the series, the cart turns green. The number of image series in your cart also appears next to the cart.
    The cart itself, in the upper-right of the window, shows how many image series are in it and how large the download will be.Cart iconImage Added
    Search results tab showing one image series selectedImage Added

  6. Click Download buttonImage Added.
    A message appears reminding you to download the NBIA Data Retriever. If you have already downloaded it, click Do not show this message again and click Download buttonImage Added. Otherwise, click Get NBIA Data Retriever App ButtonImage Added to go to a page with links for downloads for each operating system.
    Message box prompting you to download the NBIA Data RetrieverImage Added

  7. Open the manifest-xxx.tcia file in the NBIA Data Retriever. For more information on the NBIA Data Retriever, see NBIA Data Retriever FAQ. Also see question #1 in the previous section.

2. How do I search images?

The National Biomedical Imaging Archive (NBIA) software enables you to search searching for images in The Cancer Imaging Archive's local in TCIA’s local in vivo image repository.  See Chapter 2 of .  For simple searches, see Performing a Simple Search. For text searches, see Performing a Text Search (these links are in the TCIA User's Guide) for more detailed instructions.

3. What if my image search comes up empty?

You must use caution not to create such a restrictive query that the search returns no results.  Our recommendation is you start If your query is too restrictive, the search will return no results. Try starting with one criterion and add more additional criteria one at a time to refine your search.

4. How do I manage and view images in my



As you review search results in The Cancer Imaging ArchiveTCIA, you can add items at any level to your data basket cart for subsequent download.   See Chapter 3 of the TCIA User's Guide for detailed instructions.

What if I have a question on my query history or saving queries?

After you launch a search, the Search Criteria page displays the search criteria summary for your review. It allows you to save the query for future use.  See Chapter 2 of the TCIA User's Guide for more information.

You can then view subject details, thumbnails of the image series, and DICOM headers.

5. Can I share the data in my cart?

Once you have added data to your cart, you can share it as a URL to a static set of data. When you or a colleague opens the URL in a browser window, the new TCIA Graphical User Interface (GUI) opens to the cart page. 

6. What if I have a question pertaining to


Anyone can create a shared list. Once you do so, you will need to record the exact name of the shared list to distribute to others who may want to use the list. That is the only way they can access it.  See Chapter 3 of the TCIA User's Guide for more information.

sharing a query?

You can save your query for later use or share it with a colleague by email. 

7. How do I search for images showing a particular disease?

The collection Collection descriptions provide the best source of information about what disease was studied.  On the search-images  On the Search Images page, scroll down to the Collections collections block , and click on the question - mark to the left of the collection name.  Click  Click to see a brief description of the collection, ; it will usually with have pointers to a site where more detailed information about the collection is available. 

8. How do I


The XML files are in the series folder since they are related to the images in that series.  You can best find the annotated files by viewing the list of files in a folder.    

What Java version is required for Download Manager?

Java version 6 or higher of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) must be installed to be able to open the Download Manager.

If JRE 6 is installed, the Download Manager attempts to start. To run the application, you must click <b>Run</b> in the Warning dialog box indicating the application's digital signature cannot be verified. Before doing so, you can select the <b>More Information...</b> link at the bottom of the dialog to view a more detailed report of any security issues. Then you can evaluate whether you want to run the application.

For some browsers, if JRE is installed but the version is older than version 6, the browser automatically attempts to upgrade the JRE to version 6.x.

If the JRE is not installed, when you click the Download Manager button, the browser prompts you for what it should do with the JNLP file.

Note: Depending on the one's environment, the browser security settings may need to be configured to allow running Java Webstart (JNLP) applications.


search for images if I know the patient (subject) ID?

The NBIA software enables you to search for images in TCIA's image repository in a variety of ways. Although searching for a particular collection is the most common, you can also search for the images belonging to one or more subjects. Simply start on the Search page and enter one or more subject ID strings, separated by commas.

Questions about Downloading Images

Include Page
NBIA:Downloading TCIA Images
NBIA:Downloading TCIA Images

Questions about the TCGA-related imaging data

How do I find additional information about brain tumors?

Please refer to The Cancer Genome Atlas-Glioblastoma Multiforme (TCGA-GBM) collection for well-documented brain-tumor images as described here: (This wiki page also links to pages describing related research activities and related resources.)

In the Related Data section, there is a link to a blank GBM Case Quality Control Form that details the kinds and descriptions of clinical data collected. The data are freely available from the TCGA Data Portal:

Once there, click on the link to GBM data. Since TCIA does not host the TCGA Data Portal, we do not offer guidance for browsing the Data Portal.

The TCGA-Lower Grade Glioma (LGG) collection is another set of brain tumor images: TCGA-LGG.

Questions about Tumors

Do the exams in TCIA show both malignant and benign tumors?

All patients who are part of TCIA at this time are cancer-positive by definition. We have no collections of non-malignant tumors or healthy patients. The only exception would be patients with multiple tumors who might have a benign tumor in addition to a malignant tumor, but at least one tumor will be malignant in each patient.

Questions about Limited Access Collections

How do I access National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) data?

Access to NLST images and data requires approval of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).  For details, please see:

Useful References

MRI Basic Science and Abbreviations

Study materials for physicists and other clinical scientists learning the basics of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):  Abbreviations only:

The site gives me problems, and error windows have popped up while I am trying to search or download images.

Our technical support team may ask you to answer these three questions if you're having difficulty with our website:

  1. Which operating system are you using? (Typical examples would be Windows8, Mac OSX, Redhat Linux)

  2. Which browser (and version of that browser) are you using? (Typical examples would be Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome)
  3. Is Java installed on your machine, (and which version of that java are you using)? (Typical example would be yes, Java7 (u67))

To find your OS, browser, and java version, you may find the guide at Discover your OS Browser and Java Version helpful. The next step would be to test the site (but not necessarily click "download my basket") on another machine like a home laptop, to see if perhaps your institution has set, for example, a special layer of security on its network. The next step would be to email to schedule an appointment for a webex teleconference with our technical support team to work with you interactively to facilitate access.