January 7, 2011 -
Olympic Medical Cancer Center already provides world-class cancer care. Now the Sequim-based cancer center has upped its ante with the acquisition of the Varian TrueBeam™, the most advanced linear accelerator available today. The technology will be operational in April 2011.
“You won’t find a linear accelerator like this anywhere else in Washington, Oregon or Idaho,” says Tara Lock, director of Olympic Medical Cancer Center. “In April 2011, Olympic Medical Cancer Center in Sequim is the only place in the Pacific Northwest a patient can be treated on machine this advanced.”
The innovative TrueBeam system offers a radically different approach to treating cancer with image-guided radiotherapy. It delivers more powerful cancer treatments with pinpoint accuracy and precision. The TrueBeam uniquely integrates new imaging and motion management technologies within a sophisticated new architecture that makes it possible to deliver radiation cancer treatments more quickly, while monitoring and compensating for tumor motion. This opens the door to new possibilities for the treatment of cancer of the lung, breast, prostate, head and neck, as well as other cancers treatable with radiotherapy.
“This linear accelerator offers a broad spectrum of new capabilities, enabling us to treat even the most challenging cancer cases with unprecedented speed and precision,” says Rena Zimmerman, MD, medical director of radiation oncology at Olympic Medical Cancer Center. “TrueBeam breaks the mold in just about every dimension, making it possible for us to offer faster, more targeted treatments to tumors even as they move and change over time.”
With dose delivery rates that are 40 to 140 percent higher than earlier generations of Varian technology – such as the Sequim unit being decommissioned this winter – the TrueBeam can complete a treatment significantly faster. This makes it possible to offer greater patient comfort by shortening treatments, and to improve precision by leaving less time for tumor motion during dose delivery. “Intelligent” automation further speeds treatments with an up to five-fold reduction in the number of steps needed for image guidance and dose delivery.
“We will see significant reductions in treatment time,” says Dr. Zimmerman. “Patients will spend less time lying still, immobilized, resulting in increased patient comfort.”
The precision of the TrueBeam is measured in increments of less than a millimeter (smaller than a mustard seed). This accuracy is made possible by the system’s sophisticated architecture, which synchronizes imaging, patient positioning, motion management, beam shaping and dose delivery, performing accuracy checks every ten milliseconds throughout the entire treatment. As the treatment progresses, critical data points are measured to ensure the system maintains a true focal point of treatment.
For lung and other tumors subject to respiratory motion, TrueBeam offers gated RapidArc® radiotherapy, which makes it possible to monitor patient breathing and compensate for tumor motion as it quickly delivers its dose during a continuous rotation around the patient. “This helps us treat lung cancer, but will greatly enhance our ability to treat breast cancer – the leading cause of cancer death in Clallam County – and we expect this to make a meaningful difference for breast cancer patients in our area,” says Dr. Zimmerman. “We can treat the tumor as if the patient were not breathing.”
On Pace for April 2011
Olympic Medical Cancer Center is ambitiously working to install the TrueBeam by April 2011 and has embarked on the process. On December 14, installation of a temporary vault occurred. In January, patients will be transitioned for radiation therapy to the temporary vault as the old linear accelerator is decommissioned and the vault is dismantled and rebuilt specifically for the TrueBeam.
“This is an exciting time for Olympic Medical Center,” says Rhonda Curry, assistant administrator, Olympic Medical Center. “It is unprecedented for a rural hospital to offer such a robust cancer center with the advanced technology not even offered in the nearest urban center. Our affiliation with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance also offers significant advantages. We are very proud to offer outstanding cancer services and technology to Clallam County.”
The community can watch as the TrueBeam project progresses. Please log on to www.OMCforHope.com and click on “TrueBeam” for updates.
The world‐class Thomas Family Cancer Center in Sequim conveniently houses radiation oncology and medical oncology under one roof. Services include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, infusion services, hematology, dietary services, PET/CT and an onsite pharmacy, as well as a resource room for patients and their loved ones. Olympic Medical Cancer Center is proud of its ability to offer oncology specialized nursing to its patients, something many cancer centers struggle to achieve.
In addition to the services offered locally, Olympic Medical Center’s affiliation with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) brings the resources of three internationally renowned institutions to the community: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington Medicine, and Seattle Children’s. Through this partnership with the SCCA, patients have access to clinical trials; offering patients access to the latest cancer therapies before they become widely available.
For more information on Olympic Medical Cancer Center services, please call (360) 683‐9895.
Olympic Medical Center (Clallam County Public Hospital District No. 2) is a comprehensive, award-winning health care provider for more than 70,000 residents of Clallam County. It has served the community since its establishment on Nov. 1, 1951, and is governed by a seven-member, publicly elected board. OMC is a sole community hospital and rural referral center. It provides inpatient services at its 80-bed acute-care facility in Port Angeles, including a level-three trauma designated emergency department, surgical services, and labor and delivery. OMC’s outpatient services include cardiac, imaging, physical therapy and rehabilitation, laboratory, sleep medicine, surgical services, home health, physician clinics and comprehensive regional cancer care at locations in Port Angeles and Sequim.