News | September 16, 2009

Premion First in Australia to Treat Cancer Patients with RapidArc

September 16, 2009 - Cancer patients in Australia have gained access to advanced RapidArc radiotherapy treatments from Varian Medical Systems with its introduction by the leading radiation oncology provider in Queensland.

Premion, which operates five cancer centers in Queensland, has treated more than a dozen prostate cancer patients to date with this fast, precise and efficient technique at its Chermside treatment center in Brisbane.

Dr. James MacKean, Premion's lead radiation oncologist for the RapidArc program, said, "With RapidArc, improved conformality and daily treatment set-up accuracy is combined with dynamic rotational arc treatments, keeping unwanted radiation doses away from nearby structures such as the rectum and bladder. Treatment times are reduced, which improves the overall patient experience."

"RapidArc, which we introduced after extensive testing, is combined with the latest generation Varian treatment machine incorporating advanced image-guidance technology,'' explained senior medical physicist Matthew Murray. "At Premion we have a great team of dedicated radiation therapists and medical physicists to ensure these advanced treatment techniques are delivered to the highest standards."

Premion, which treats cancer patients using ten linear accelerators at its five sites, says its RapidArc program at Chermside will expand to include the treatment of brain, head and neck and lung tumors in the near future.

Premion patient, 68-year-old Bob Major, received RapidArc treatment over an eight week period in July and August. "I found my treatment on the RapidArc-equipped machine excellent, I was in and out of the treatment room in minutes, the Premion staff were very professional and my urologist worked closely with Dr. MacKean to develop my treatment plan," he said.

RapidArc delivers a precise and efficient treatment in single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient and makes it possible to deliver image-guided intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) two to eight times faster than is possible with conventional IMRT. Faster treatments allow for greater precision, since there is less chance of patient or tumor movement during treatment delivery and, with less time on the treatment couch, also allow for greater patient comfort. Conventional IMRT treatments are slower and more difficult for radiotherapy radiographers because they target tumors using a complex sequence of fixed beams from multiple angles.

"The philosophy of Premion at all five of our locations is to offer Queensland and northern New South Wales patients the full range of state-of-the-art facilities in a friendly, efficient and caring environment," indicated Dr. MacKean. "'We strive to avoid waiting lists and improve patient access."

Stuart Hamilton, Varian's regional sales director, added, "Premion is continually striving to offer more advanced treatments for the benefit of cancer patients and we are delighted to be working with Premion to introduce RapidArc in Australia. Since the introduction of the technique in the US and Europe last year, more than 100 cancer centers worldwide have introduced this approach, improving the patient experience while maximizing treatment precision."

For more information: www.varian.com

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