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Sudharz Krankenhaus Nordhausen Cancer Center Introduces Varian RapidArc To Treat Cancer Patients

In Germany three prostate cancer patients have been treated at Sudharz Krankenhaus Nordhausen using RapidArc radiotherapy technology that is a new, faster form of radiotherapy that enables doctors to improve outcomes while extending more advanced care to more patients. RapidArc delivers an efficient and precise treatment in a single or multiple arcs of the treatment machine around the patient. It delivers advanced image-guided intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) two to eight times faster compared to conventional IMRT. The treatment time reduced to just two and a half minutes compared with up to 30 minutes for complex IMRT treatments when treated at Sudharz Krankenhaus Nordhausen. "It is very gratifying for me to begin treatments using the most modern moving arc method of radiotherapy," says Dr. Wolfgang Oehler, head of the radiotherapy department. "The three patients are excited to be the first in Germany to receive such treatments although the treatment was so quick that one patient questioned whether he had received the full dose. We assured him that he certainly had and he was pleased to only have to lie on the treatment table for a short time." Dr. Oehler said RapidArc was a valuable weapon in the hospital's goal of bringing down waiting lists. "We knew we needed a brilliant new method of shortening treatment times and avoiding waiting lists while improving the quality of the treatment and it was not a hard decision to select RapidArc," he added. The hospital's work has been praised by the president of the German Cancer Aid Society, Prof. Dr. Dagmar Schipanski. "For about seven years we have closely followed the IMRT activities at the Sudharz Krankenhaus Nordhausen," she said. "Clinicians at this center have treated more than 2,500 patients with IMRT and built a huge clinical knowledge base and experience on advanced treatment techniques. As a citizen of the state of Thuringen I'm particularly proud that a clinic in our state has now become the first in Germany to introduce such an elegant and efficient technique as RapidArc." Varian's Clinac accelerator can target radiation beams at a tumor while continuously rotating around the patient usung RapidArc. For radiotherapy radiographers conventional IMRT treatments are slower and more difficult as they target tumors using a complex sequence of fixed beams from multiple angles.