John Muir Health provides new cancer treatment using Varian’s RapidArc radiation therapy

John Muir Health is offering a new cancer treatment option using the latest technology from Varian Medical Systems – The Trilogy Linear Accelerator with RapidArc┬« Technology. The new accelerator, located at John Muir Medical Center, Concord, significantly shortens treatment sessions from 15-20 minutes to 2-5 minutes, while improving the precision of the radiotherapy.

“With this new technology, we are able to deliver higher and more concentrated doses of radiation to cancerous tumors in less time,” said Michael Levine, M.D., medical director of Radiation Oncology Services at John Muir Health. “The targeted beam of radiation increases the probability of reducing the size of a tumor without harming nearby tissue and vital organs. It also minimizes the impact on our patients’ daily lives because it only takes a few minutes to undergo the treatment.”

The technology behind RapidArc┬«’s precision is a unique algorithm that permits clinicians to simultaneously modulate the opening shape, dose rate and gantry speed. The linear accelerator gantry rotates 360 degrees around the patient once while RapidArc delivers a concentrated dose of radiation in three dimensions.

“Our oncological services are built on John Muir Health’s tradition of providing leading-edge technology, achieving excellent patient outcomes, and offering personalized, compassionate care,” said Brenda Carlson, R.N., executive director of Oncology Services at John Muir Health. “As an accredited Cancer Program, we are proud to continue to bring the latest medical advances to our community.”

When Benicia resident Michael Escobosa was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he got referred outside of his current health system to explore three other hospitals, including those associated with John Muir Health.

“When you are faced with something as serious as cancer, you want the best care possible,” said Mr. Escobosa. “After researching different options and talking to experts in the medical field, I discovered that John Muir Health offered a new radiation therapy treatment that would take less time and cause less discomfort. I was amazed how few side effects I had and how great the machine was.”

After 39 treatment sessions, Michael’s prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a blood test that helps detect disease, went down from 37 to 2, which is within the normal range.

RapidArc® can be used to treat different types of cancer, including prostate, skin, breast, brain, head and neck, throat, larynx, thyroid, bone, ovarian, lung, pancreas, esophagus, anorectal and uterine.

In 2009, both John Muir Health’s Walnut Creek and Concord medical centers earned a three-year accreditation with commendation as a Network Cancer Program from the American College of Surgeons/ Commission on Cancer, a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients.

Source: John Muir Health

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