Varian Rapid Arc
Image courtesy of Varian Medical Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

Technology such as Ohio's first Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) system keeps Cleveland Clinic Cancer Centers on the cutting edge of cancerous tumor treatment. After the equipment was installed and tested in late 2008, we have used Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) regularly for the treatment of prostate, head and neck tumors, as well as a range of other cancerous tumors.

The main advantages of Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) are precision and speed. Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) focuses the radiation on the tumor while protecting healthy tissues. Each Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) treatment is completed in less than two minutes. Faster treatments improve the accuracy of radiation delivery, in addition to improving patient convenience and quality of life.

Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) uses photons (W-rays) generated by a medical linear accelerator. Very small beams with varying intensities are aimed at a tumor and then rotated 360 degrees around the patient. This results in attacking the target in a complete three-dimensional manner.

Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) Treatment involves three basic steps: diagnosis, treatment planning, and delivery. As part of the diagnosis, the medical team generates three-dimensional diagnostic images (usually CT and/or PET) of the patient’s anatomy and then uses these images to specify the dose of radiation needed to treat the tumor. Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) beams can be as small as 2.5 x 5 millimeters. That’s the size of a pencil tip!

The idea is to deliver the maximum dose of radiation to the cancerous tumor while reducing the amount of healthy tissue effected. During the course of a single 360 rotation by our linear accelerator, a complete treatment is delivered.

At Cleveland Clinic Cancer Centers, our first priority is patient care. That’s why we continue to offer our patients the most advanced technologies available in the treatment of their disease. Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) technology represents another step in the fulfillment of our ongoing mission.