The Cancer Team targets tumors with new technology

03/17/2009

ASHWAUBENON - Experts at The Cancer Team at Bellin Health are using new technology called Rapid Arc radiation therapy to deliver quicker, pain-free, increasingly precise doses of radiation to cancerous tumors while also minimizing potential damage to nearby healthy tissue.

Radiation therapy is a standard part of treatment for many cancer patients. When undergoing such treatment, patients are required to hold perfectly still for 30 to 45 minutes, an uncomfortable experience for some.

“Rapid Arc slashes that time to less than two minutes,” said Andy DeLaO, team leader of Oncology Services at Bellin Health. “This medical advance offers a more comfortable experience for our patients and every little added comfort helps exponentially when guiding a patient through their cancer treatments.”

Rapid Arc technology offers real-time images of tumors that are then targeted by radiation beams with pinpoint accuracy. The technology tracks the movements of tumors during and between treatments and even during breathing as the chest rises and falls and tumors move accordingly.

“What this does is to help us reduce the amount of healthy tissue that can be affected by radiation treatments,” said Dr. Edie Krueger, a radiation oncologist at The Cancer Team. “This is the sort of technology that makes The Cancer Team a destination for cancer patients in Northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”

The head of the Rapid Arc machine rotates 360 degrees around a patient. As the machine rotates, the radiation beams can be modulated to account for the position of the tumor within the body. It also helps oncologists avoid nearby organs, bones and healthy tissue near the treatment field.

Rapid Arc is used to treat various cancers, including lung, head and neck cancers.

Bellin is the first and only health care provider in Wisconsin to use Rapid Arc radiation therapy technology, DeLaO said.

“We were one of the first 10 health care facilities in the world to have Rapid Arc installed and are the only one in the state to use this technology for our patients,” he said.

The Cancer Team, 1580 Commanche Ave., Green Bay, effectively eliminates the need for patients in Northeast Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to travel to university hospitals or larger cities to receive first-rate cancer care in one facility.

The $11.5 million cancer center officially opened in 2008, offering area cancer patients a conveniently located 32,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility designed to address patients’ needs during and after treatment.