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Mainland China Introduces RapidArc Radiotherapy Cancer Treatments

Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 10, Beijing Cancer Hospital became the first hospital in mainland China to use RapidArc radiotherapy cancer treatments.

Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 10, Beijing Cancer Hospital became the first hospital in mainland China to use RapidArc radiotherapy cancer treatments. Physicians at the Chinese hospital say they intend to use the technology for precise treatments of several cancers, including esophageal and rectal cancer. The technology, from Varian Medical Systems, offers faster, more precise care for a greater number of patients.

“RapidArc will make our radiotherapy more accurate,” said Guangying Zhu, MD, a professor of radiation oncology at Beijing Cancer Hospital, which has treated more than 5000 patients with conventional intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) in recent years. “Before RapidArc, we treated patients with IMRT, which took between 15 and 30 minutes to finish one patient’s treatment. With RapidArc, we can finish the same work in 2 to 3 minutes.”

Zhu explained that the hospital’s department of radiation oncology treats more than 2000 new cancer patients each year from across China and from neighboring countries such as Vietnam. The ability to treat a greater number of patients in less time will help the hospital reduce its burgeoning waiting list.

“We have nowhere near enough capacity to meet our needs,” said Zhu. “In the United States, there are about 8.2 machines for every 1 million people on average. But in China, the figure is only about 0.7 machines to serve the same population.”

According to Varian Medical Systems, RapidArc delivers precise and efficient treatment in single or multiple arcs with fewer revolutions around the patient. This makes it possible to deliver image-guided IMRT 2 to 8 times faster than conventional IMRT. Faster treatments result in greater precision, because there is less chance of patient or tumor movement during treatment

delivery.

In a released statement, Jinming Yu, MD, chairman of the China Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology, said, “RapidArc is the leading radiation therapy technique, especially for fast and precisely targeted treatments. I believe that this high-tech machine will provide excellent benefits for cancer patients in China.”