Soon after RapidArc Radiotherapy Technology was approved by the FDA, Bay Regional Cancer Center and Bay Medical Center became the first in Florida Panhandle to adopt it. As a regional leader in cancer treatment, we quickly espoused the RapidArc technology because of its unique blend of technologies that ensure radiation is delivered to the tumor more precisely, quickly, safely and effectively. RapidArc combines Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Core-Beam CT Scanning (CBCT) and On-Board Imaging in one machine, delivering radiation in less than 90 seconds-per-fraction and taking targeting and precision delivery to the next level.
How does it work?
RapidArc is an image-guided radiotherapy technology developed by Varian Medical Systems, which delivers radiation with 1-2 rotations of treatment around the patient. Radiation is delivered using a linear accelerator (Clinac or Trilogy) equipped with an on-board imaging system. The linear accelerator spins around the patient in a 360-degree revolution delivering radiation treatments from almost any angle. The imaging system provides clear images for guiding patient placement and delivery of radiation. During treatment, radiation is varied or modulated to achieve the right intensity for killing cancer cells. With RapidArc, an entire tumor volume can be treated with a radiation dose delivered in just a single revolution of the machine.
There are 4 essential steps in a RapidArc treatment:
- Planning: Sophisticated computer programs are used to analyze data from diagnostic images, calculate the right radiation dose and develop a delivery strategy that will minimize adverse effects on healthy tissues.
- Imaging: Just before treatment, the On-Board Imager is used to run a simple two-minute imaging procedure to observe the exact size, location and shape of the tumor.
- Positioning: Once imaging is completed, resulting images are reviewed and the position of the patient is adjusted accordingly to ensure accurate treatment. All adjustments are done automatically and the patient does not have to move off the treatment couch.
- Treatment: After the patient is properly positioned, radiation is delivered quickly (in less than 2 minutes) and with just a single 360-degree turn of the machine. During the process, the RapidArc machine shapes and modulates a highly-focused radiation beam, targeting the tumor more precisely and sparing the surrounding healthy tissues. The tumor is treated with pinpoint accuracy, which is ideal for the patient who does not need to keep still for long.
What should you expect from a RapidArc treatment process?
The process is similar to any other radiation treatment. A highly skilled oncology team presided over by a radiation oncologist uses computer-generated images to customize your treatment plan. Following the plan, a precise and tightly-focused radiation dose conforming to the shape of your tumor is delivered, with the amount of radiation reaching the surrounding healthy tissues being limited. The radiation therapy is typically given 5 days a week for 6-7 weeks, but treatment may vary slightly depending on your diagnosis. For example, if the RapidArc treatment is used to relieve pain, the course of treatment may last 2-3 weeks, with each radiotherapy session lasting 2 minutes. Weekend rest breaks are allowed to give normal cells time to repair and recover.
Benefits of RapidArc treatment
RapidArc is an innovative approach to delivering radiation. The image-guided procedure ensures better tumor targeting while its intensity modulation shapes the radiation dose according to the 3-dimensional shape of the tumor. As a result, more radiation is delivered precisely to the tumor and very little to surrounding normal tissues.
RapidArc treatment is fast and convenient. The radiotherapy system includes technology that allows your treatment team to place you on the treatment couch with sub-millimeter accuracy. Radiation is delivered in a few minutes and you don’t have to remain still on the couch for long. What used to take 10-15 minutes to complete with conventional radiotherapy requires only around 2 minutes with RapidArc.
RapidArc offers an infinite number of possible treatment solutions. The machine allows for 180 possible stops around its 360-degree arc and precise, customized doses at different angles. In fact, studies have demonstrated that RapidArc offers a 25-percent increase in the quality of life of patients while enabling patients with recurring tumors to be treated.
Get the best of RapidArc radiotherapy
Unlike other facilities offering RapidArc technology, Bay Regional Cancer Center provides a more comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach which guarantees better treatment outcome. We have a highly skilled, experienced and specialized team of physicians, physicists, technicians and nurses dedicated to proper deployment of RapidArc technology for safe and effective treatment of a broad range of cancers, including head and neck, pelvic, gynecologic and brain tumors. If you are diagnosed with a cancer, our center gives you the best chance of talking with several specialists, asking questions and getting the right treatment. At Bay Regional Cancer Center, we offer seamlessly coordinated RapidArc treatments with remarkable outcomes.