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The University Hospital Of Leuven, The First Belgian Center To Use RapidArc Radiotherapy Treatments

The University Hospital of Leuven has selected RapidArc radiotherapy technology that is a new, faster form of radiotherapy from Varian Medical Systems to treat a 74-year-old prostate cancer patient in Belgium. "This patient is now feeling very well and he is very proud of being number one in Belgium," says Dr. Karin Haustermans, head of the Department of Oncology. "We are identifying patients for whom RapidArc is a beneficial treatment and we have been very pleased with the early results. Not everyone will be treated in this way but it appears to have major advantages in speed and precision for many of our prostate cancer patients." Frank Van den Heuvel, director of physics said that RapidArc will save time by reducing the treatment time from 12 minutes to ten minutes so that more number of patients can benefit in less time. "This is an entirely new technique for us so early treatments will inevitably take a little longer but once it becomes a part of our routine I believe we can achieve these targets," he said. Prior to starting RapidArc treatments, physicist Wouter Crijns found five significant benefits over and above conventional IMRT treatments by conducting series of tests. Apart from time-savings he observed an improvement in sparing nearby organs at risk from being affected by the radiation, an ability to boost the dose from 74 to 78 Gy while achieving a 30% reduction in monitor units used during treatment, and an ability to tighten margins from 1cm to 0.7cm because of less prostate motion during the shorter treatment. It also provides patient comfort by shortening the time taken for the process. "The team at Leuven has done a great job in introducing RapidArc treatments so quickly and becoming among the first in Europe to begin treatments using this technique," said Vincent Ronfle, Varian's regional sales manager.