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Decatur Memorial Hospital begins treating cancer patients RapidArc radiotherapy

Varian : 19 June, 2008  (Application Story)
Decatur Memorial Hospital has become the first medical centre in Illinois, and the third in the USA, to treat a cancer patient using RapidArc radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems.
John Hosler, an 85-year-old prostate cancer patient, received his treatment in just under 90 seconds - a treatment that would have taken 15 to 20 minutes using earlier treatment methods.

'I was impressed with how quickly the treatment was delivered,' said Hosler, who performs a regimen of 100 push ups and 100 sits ups every day and was pleased to be one of the first patients in the world to receive a RapidArc treatment, 'I like knowing that I am doing something to help others in the future.'

'The treatment went very well,' said Mary Anne de Paz, MD, Hosler's radiation oncologist. 'RapidArc gives us the ability to deliver a highly accurate treatment in a very short timeframe. This convenience is especially important when treating elderly patients, who often have trouble lying still for long periods of time.'

'Prostate cancer treatments are typically delivered five days a week over a period of eight weeks, so a savings of 12 minutes or more each day really adds up for our patients,' said John Ridley, director of radiation oncology at Decatur Memorial. 'With RapidArc, the time they must spend immobilised in the treatment room is reduced by up to eight hours over an entire course of treatment.'

RapidArc delivers advanced image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatments two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT or helical tomotherapy. The treatments are delivered with just one 360 degree rotation of the treatment machine around the patient.

'We believe that this technology will become the preferred method for treating many types of cancer with doses that match the shape and size of the tumour,' said Sharon McMillian, MS, DABR, medical physicist. 'In comparisons that we ran, our RapidArc treatment plans for prostate cancer looked better than conventional IMRT plans, in terms of tumor coverage.'
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