HOW DOES HALCYON RADIOTHERAPY WORK?
Radiotherapy is an individualized treatment. The radiation beam from the treatment system is shaped to mirror the exact form of your specific tumor. That means the radiation is focused on the tumor while sparing the surrounding healthy tissues and organs.
The Halcyon radiotherapy system is the most recent advancement in Cancer treatment introduced by Apollo Cancer Centres for the first time in Eastern India. Its leading-edge technology precisely targets the tumor while providing a treatment environment that’s more comfortable than ever before.
ADVANTAGES OF THE HALCYON SYSTEM
- FAST: Halcyon was designed to provide treatment quickly and efficiently. Imaging can be completed in about 15 seconds, and brushless motors in the machine enable fast treatment delivery.
- PRECISE: Halcyon delivers a precise, tightly focused radiation dose that conforms to the shape of your tumor while minimizing impact on surrounding healthy tissue.
- COMFORTABLE: Advancements such as a spacious opening, ambient lighting, and a low treatment-couch position work to keep you as comfortable as possible during treatment. And Halcyon is watercooled, which means there are no loud fans or cold air, giving you a quiet and comfortable treatment experience.
- COMPREHENSIVE: Halcyon can treat most disease sites, including the brain, head and neck, prostate, lungs, and breasts.
- SAFE: Your safety is of utmost importance. To create a closer connection between you and your therapist during treatment, Halcyon includes an integrated camera and intercom, so your therapist can watch over you and speak with you at all times.
If you accidently bump into the bore (the opening of the machine) during treatment, the collision-detection system immediately pauses treatment and motion. In addition, Halcyon’s treatment couch can be moved to a low position, allowing you to get on and off more easily
HALCYON DELIVERS MANY TYPES OF TREATMENT TECHNIQUES
- INTENSITY-MODULATED RADIOTHERAPY (IMRT): A technique in which doctors vary (or modulate) the amount of radiation that is sent to different parts of your tumor while shaping the beam to match the shape, size, and position of the targeted tumor.
- RAPIDARC® RADIOTHERAPY: An advanced form of IMRT that delivers the dose to the entire tumor in a 360-degree rotation.It enables treatments that once took 10–30 minutes to be delivered in less than two minutes.
- 3-D Conformal: Uses 3-D images to shape radiation beams that conform to the tumor and minimize the exposure of healthy tissue toradiation.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A TREATMENT ON HALCYON STEP BY STEP
Although your treatment process may vary, the following should give you a good idea of what to expect:
- TUMOR VISUALIZATION: Imaging is important in order to visualize the tumor and accurately target it. Detailed 3-D images enable your doctor to know its exact size, shape, and location in your body. This information helps determine the appropriate dose of radiation and how to deliver it most effectively.
- TREATMENT PLANNING: Using the 3-D images as their guide, your treatment team will develop a detailed plan that specifies the amount of radiation the cancer cells should receive and from which angles. A schedule for treatment will also be developed during this phase.
- TREATMENT DELIVERY: When it’s time for treatment, your radiation therapist (RT) will help position you on the treatment table and make sure you’re comfortable. Just prior to treatment, images will be taken to allow the RT to verify the tumor’s exact size and location. Once the therapist makes any necessary adjustments, your treatment will begin.
The radiation is delivered by a machine called a linear accelerator (linac), which rotates around you as it projects the beam. With Halcyon, the rotating beam gantry is enclosed within the opening,so you won’t see anything rotating around you.
You will be in constant contact with your therapist through the integrated camera system and two-way intercom. Although the first treatment can take a bit longer due to additional setup, the entire process should take only a few minutes.
- FOLLOW-UP CARE: After your treatment, you’ll see your doctor for follow-up care. During this time, he or she will monitor your progress. Take this opportunity to ask your doctor any questions about your treatments, the status of your health, and any side-effects you may be experiencing.
What is the Varian Halcyon™ system?
The HalcyonTMradiotherapy system is Varian’s newest cancer-treatment devicethat offers 3-D conformal, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), and RapidArc radiotherapy.
Halcyon was designed to elevate patient care while simplifying and shorteningvirtually every aspect of the treatment process, delivering treatments in a fraction of the time it takes with conventional machines.
Halcyon allows for high-quality treatment plans appropriate for a variety of cancers, such as those of the brain, head and neck, prostate, lungs, and breasts.
Why would a patient want to be treated with the Halcyon radiotherapy system?
Halcyon enables clinics and hospitals to deliver leading-edge care in an environment that’s more patientfriendly than ever.
Here are some of its advantages:
- Fast: Halcyon was designed to provide treatment quickly and efficiently. Imaging can be completed in about 15 seconds, and treatments are typically completed in just nine steps. That means the patient’s time on the machine is greatly reduced. In fact, most treatments are completed in about 10 minutes. That’s half of what’s expected with conventional machines.
- Comfortable: Since Halcyon uses a quiet water-cooled system, the treatment room can be kept at a much more comfortable temperature. Advancements like a spacious opening, ambient lighting, and a low treatment-couch position work to keep patients as comfortable as possible during treatment. Additionally, Halcyon’s imaging and treatment components are enclosed, so patients don’t see anything rotating around them.
- Safe: To create a closer connection between patient and therapist during treatment, Halcyon includes an integrated camera and intercom, allowing the therapist to watch over the patient and speak with them at all times. If the patient accidently bumps into the bore (the opening of the machine) during treatment, the collision-detection system immediately pauses treatment and motion.
- Innovative: Halcyon will keep getting better at treating cancer as new protocols and enhancements are developed, incorporated, and updated directly into the system’s software. As the fight against cancer advances, so do Halcyon’s capabilities.
How does radiotherapy work?
An effective treatment for cancer, radiotherapy has been used successfully for many years; currently, nearly two out of every three cancer patients in the US receive some type of radiotherapy during their treatment, according to the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).
Radiotherapy works by limiting the ability of cancer cells to grow and spread, disrupting the DNA of these fast-growing cancer cells and preventing them from replicating. If cancer cells can’t reproduce, they die, and tumors shrink.
The radiation is generated by a machine called a medical linear accelerator. This machine generates high-energy X-ray beams of varying intensities, which can be conformed to the three-dimensional shape of a tumor. This allows the maximum dose to be delivered to the tumor while minimizing the exposure of surrounding healthy tissue.
Does radiotherapy expose people to radioactive substances?
When they hear the word “radiation,” many people think immediately of radioactive substances. However, no radioactive substances are involved in the creation of the beam by a medical linear accelerator. When a linear accelerator is switched on, radiation is produced in the form of high-energy X-rays, or photons, and aimed directly at cancer cells. Then, like a flashlight, when the system is switched off, the photon beam disappears.
What happens when a person is treated with radiotherapy?
Radiotherapy treatment involves several basic steps: diagnosis, the planning of the individual treatment, and the delivery of the treatment.
After the diagnosis, the radiation oncologist takes three-dimensional diagnostic images (usually CT or MRI scans) of the tumor and the area around it and uses them to create a prescription that specifies the dose of radiation needed to treat the tumor, plus constraints to be considered for avoiding nearby tissues and organs. The radiation oncologist then works with a medical physicist to plan the individualized treatment.
After a treatment plan is finalized, the patient receives individualized radiotherapy treatments according to the schedule prescribed in the plan. The total dose of radiation is usually divided into smaller doses (called fractions) that are given daily over a specific time period (e.g., five days a week for six weeks).
- Treatment preparation. X-rays and/or CT scans may be taken in preparation for planning the treatment. Following these scans, the treatment-planning process can take several days, during which time the patient need not be present. When the treatment plan is complete, radiotherapy treatments can begin.
- Treatment delivery.When it’s time for treatment, the radiation therapist (RT) will help position the patient on the treatment table and make sure they’re comfortable. Just prior to treatment, images will be taken to allow the RT to verify the tumor’s exact size and location. Once the therapist makes any necessary adjustments, treatment will begin.
The radiation therapist will leave the treatment room before the machine is turned on. The machine delivers radiation beams shaped to match the size and shape of the tumor from virtually every angle in a 360-degree revolution using a beam-shaping device called a multileaf collimator. This device is designed to create apertures of different shapes and sizes.
Most treatments take only a few minutes a day. The first treatment session may be longer than subsequent ones so that additional images can be acquired to check the position of the tumor on the day of the treatment.
Who are the professionals a patient may typically encounter?
- A radiation oncologist is a doctor who has had special training in using radiation to treat diseases and prescribes the type and Amount or Dose of Radiation. The radiation oncologist may work closely with other doctors and the rest of the healthcare team.
- A medical physicist participates in the planning process so that the machines deliver the right dose of radiation.
- A Dosimetrist plans the treatment with the Oncologist, Physicist, Nutritionist, Speech and Swallowing Therapist, Physiotherapy and rehabilitation specialists etc.
- A radiation therapy nurse provides nursing care and may help the patient learn about treatment or how to manage any side effects.
- A radiation therapist sets the patient up for treatment and operates the equipment that delivers the radiation.
How long is a course of treatments?
Typically, radiotherapy treatments are given five days a week over a period of two to six weeks or more. The course of treatment length varies depending on the diagnosis, so patients should ask their radiation oncologists for more specific information.
Does a person become radioactive after treatment?
Not at all. External radiation therapy does not cause anyone’s body to become radioactive. There is no need to avoid being with other people because of treatment. Even hugging, kissing, or having sexual relations with others poses no risk to them of radiation exposure.
Is a radiation-therapy treatment expensive?
The exact cost of radiation therapy will depend on the type and number of treatments a patient requires. Many health insurance policies cover charges for radiotherapy. It’s a good idea for patients to talk with their insurers or with their doctor’s office staff or the hospital business office about their policy and how expected costs will be paid.
Which side effects can a patient expect from Halcyon treatments?
Many people don’t experience side effects* from radiation treatments. However, serious side effects can occur, including but not limited to fatigue and skin irritation. Side effects most often affect the treatment site itself but can extend beyond it. Patients should ask their doctor what to expect from their specific cancer treatment.
*The Halcyon system may not be appropriate for all cancers. Serious side effects can occur, including fatigue and skin irritation. Treatment times may vary. Patients should ask their doctor if Halcyon is right for their particular case.
What is unique about treatment using Varian’s Halcyon technology?
- High quality of care: Halcyon delivers treatments in a fraction of the time it takes with traditional machines, without compromising quality. Its dual-layer MLC has been optimized for modulated treatments, giving it the ability to target tumors with pinpoint accuracy while minimizing the exposure ofsurrounding healthy tissue.
- Operational efficiency: Halcyon’s streamlined and efficient processes allow treatments to be completed in just nine steps. A one-step setup provides fast, safe patient positioning, and standardized workflows allow therapists to focus on patients rather than the machine.
- Human-centered design: Halcyon was built to deliver advanced treatments in an environment that’s more patientfriendly than ever. During a radiotherapy treatment with Halcyon, the imaging and treatment-delivery components are enclosed, so the patient doesn’t see anything rotating around them.A spacious opening, ambient lighting, and relaxing music help keep patients comfortable during treatment. And Halcyon features an integrated camera and intercom that allow for constant audio and visual contact. Treatments can be completed in around 10 minutes, so patients can get back to their lives with minimal disruption.
This information is intended as a general guide to Halcyon. It does not replace a full discussion with your doctor and healthcare team. You should know that radiotherapy, including Halcyon radiotherapy, is not appropriate for all types of cancer. Although your actual treatment times may vary, typical radiotherapy treatments are delivered once a day for a series of weeks.
Serious side effects that may occur are treatment-site specific and can include diarrhea, nausea, swelling at the treatment site, lymphedema, pneumonitis (inflammation of lung tissue), and secondary cancer. Talk to your doctor about what you can expect from your treatment and to find out if treatment with the Halcyon radiotherapy system is right for you.
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For more information about Halcyon, visit www.varian.com/halcyon.