Hope Radiation Cancer Center

2900 Hwy 77, Lynn Haven, FL 32444    Phone: 850-481-1687   Fax: 850-481-0761

RapidArc

New radiation therapy is fast, tightly focused

Find out about the main components of the Varian RapidArc radiation therapy technologyToday 1 in 3 Americans are at risk of being diagnosed with cancer. Although a diagnosis of cancer can be shocking and frightening, with early diagnosis and better treatment many patients can be cured and are living much longer than ever.


Radiation therapy is nothing new for cancer treatment. In fact more than half of the cancer patients will receive radiation therapy at some point during cancer management. Now a new radiation treatment technique is available. It is called RapidArc Radiation Therapy, and it delivers image- guided intensitymodulated radiation therapy (IG-IMRT). Conventional intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has been in use since the 1990s, and it delivers multiple step-and-shoot precision radiation beams to the tumor without the help of any real time image guidance. RapidArc is the next generation of IMRT, and it precisely images the tumor before each radiation treatment is given, with a single rotation of the radiation machine.    Delivery times are up to eight times faster than conventional IMRT.

An on-board imager, much like a CT scanner, is attached with the machine, and it takes images of the exact location, shape and size of the tumor, immediately before each radiation treatment is delivered. The images are reviewed to make positional adjustments for the patient by moving the treatment table automatically. This puts the patient where he or she needs to be, the same way every day within millimeter accuracy.


The RapidArc machine then varies three parameters simultaneously to deliver precision radiation treatment: 1) the speed with which the radiation machine rotates around the patient; 2) the dimensions of the beam shaping aperture, which molds the radiation beam to precisely fit the shape and size of the tumor; and 3) the rate at which the radiation dose is given to the patient.

 

     

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This latest radiation technique can turn a 20-minute treatment time into a highly precise 90-second treatment time for some selected cancer patients.   By shortening the treatment time, the effect of the patient's breathing and involuntary movement during treatment can also be minimized, further improving tumor targeting accuracy.


The benefits to the patients are obvious; the cancer can be treated with great precision in significantly less time, minimizing side effects of treatment and improving the patient's quality of life. Patients are much more comfortable with a positive emotional and physical impact. 

Hope Radiation Cancer Center and Bay Medical Center are the first in the Florida Panhandle to offer this radiation therapy technique. If you are diagnosed with a cancer, talk with several cancer specialists, including a radiation oncologist, to find out the best treatment available for you.