A female lung cancer patient in her 90s had a large tumor in her right lung, located very close to her heart. Treatment needed to avoid the spinal cord and her healthy lung. Additionally the patient was extremely uncomfortable, and had trouble breathing as well as constant pain. She was barely able to tolerate the traditional course of treatment, which lasted for 5½ minutes per session.
RapidArc treatments to the lung lasted only 75 seconds compared to 5½ minutes with conventional IMRT treatments. The same dose of radiation (as previously given) was delivered to the tumor area, but the patient’s comfort was improved because she only had to stay still for a shorter period of time. More importantly, the doses received by the surrounding structures were much lower with RapidArc. The spinal cord dose was reduced by 30% and the dose to the healthy lung were lowered by almost 50%. The overall dose to the heart was also reduced significantly.