April 12, 2011 -
Today, cancer treatment on the Olympic Peninsula takes a giant leap forward as the most-advanced linear accelerator available, the Varian TrueBeam™, is now online, operational and treating cancer patients at the Thomas Family Cancer Center at Olympic Medical Park on Fifth Avenue in Sequim.
The nearest cancer treatment facility on the West Coast offering this level of radiotherapy via the Varian TrueBeam is at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif. “That speaks volumes. We are among the cream of the crop with radiation therapy options,” says Radiation Oncologist Rena Zimmerman, MD, medical director of radiation oncology, Olympic Medical Cancer Center. “Our neighbors with cancer who need radiotherapy do not need to travel further than Sequim to receive powerful and advanced treatment. We are proud to offer this to patients on the Olympic Peninsula.”
The TrueBeam delivers cancer treatments with pinpoint accuracy and precision. The technology from Varian Medical Systems is a game changer in radiotherapy treatment for even the most challenging cancer cases such as in the lung, breast, head and neck, abdomen and liver. Specifically, the TrueBeam can be used to deliver many forms of radiotherapy treatment, including image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT), stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), and is the only machine in existence that offers the Gated RapidArc treatment as a standard. These capabilities make it possible to provide the most accurate treatment possible with a minimum of dose to surrounding tissues; leading to better outcomes with fewer side effects.
Improvements in Radiation Dose Delivery
With dose delivery rates that are 40 to 140 percent higher than earlier generations of Varian technology, the TrueBeam system can complete a treatment faster. “We can deliver fast and accurate image-guided treatments within just a few minutes per day instead of 10 to 30 minutes,” says Dr. Zimmerman.
This capability makes it possible to offer greater patient comfort by shortening treatment times, 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.
Gated RapidArc Technology Allows ‘Room to Breathe’
Many tumors in places like a lung or a breast move when a patient breathes in and out. The respiratory gating available on the TrueBeam synchronizes the beam with a patient’s breathing, meaning there is accurate targeting throughout a treatment.
“With the TrueBeam, we can choose the optimal approach for our patients,” says Dr. Zimmerman.
For the last three months, radiotherapy has been offered in a temporary vault behind the Thomas Family Cancer Center facility. Patients will now be back under the same roof as other comprehensive cancer services, including medical oncology.
“A top priority for Olympic Medical Cancer Center is patient comfort. Patients undergoing cancer treatment spend a significant amount of time here and we want them to be comfortable and we want to offer them convenience,” says Medical Oncologist Thomas Kummet, MD, medical director of Olympic Medical Cancer Center. “We are excited to have all our services back under one roof. Patients benefit greatly from the convenience we offer.”
For more information about the Varian TrueBeam and cancer services offered by Olympic Medical Cancer Center, please call 683-9895 or log on to www.OMCforhope.com.
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.