February 7, 2023
Cancer treatment continues to advance, and we’re proud to be at the forefront of it with our brand-new Halcyon Linac by Varian. This state-of-the-art radiotherapy system offers faster treatment in a spacious, patient-centered design, while incorporating volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) to deliver a consistent radiation dose to tumors while minimizing the dose to healthy tissue.
Dr. Neil D’Souza is a radiation oncologist at our Goodyear location who has firsthand experience with this revolutionary machine. We asked him to share, in layman’s terms, exactly what makes the Halcyon Linac so special.
One of the most exciting features of the Halcyon are its reduced treatment times. “The system is likely the fastest available machine on the market,” Dr. D’Souza says. According to Varian, complex treatments that used to take 30 steps to deliver now only take nine. Besides less time spent on the table, the speed of the machine also means patients won’t have to hold their breath as long to minimize movement during treatments for tumors in the liver or lung, for example. When it comes to patient comfort, these improvements make a world of difference.
The goal of radiation therapy is to deliver an appropriate dose of radiation to a cancerous tumor while minimizing exposure to healthy surrounding tissues. The Halcyon uses a type of radiation therapy known as volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT)--one of the newest forms of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and the most accurate technology available.
Dr. D’Souza explains, “VMAT treats tumors using an 'arc' of fifty to eighty plus beams from many different angles, enabling the machine to shape the radiation dose directly for the target, reducing side effects. The Halcyon is the most efficient machine for this particular form of treatment.”
Let’s face it, radiation treatment can be scary. Varian took this into account when designing the machine, which looks a lot like a CT scanner, a piece of equipment many people are familiar and comfortable with. “Patients who have been treated on the Halcyon generally love the approachability, familiarity, and speed of the setup and treatment on this machine,” Dr. D’Souza says. The machine is also the quietest model yet.
The staff love it, too
Designed for ease of use by clinicians, the Halcyon gets a thumbs-up from the Arizona Oncology Goodyear staff as well. With built-in cone-beam CT image-guidance, the Halcyon allows the radiology team to “see” the tumor inside the patient at higher resolutions than ever before.
Says Dr. D’Souza, “The staff love the Halcyon because of its cutting-edge technology, speed of treatments, ease of setup, as well as the superior image-guidance capability which enables us to see the tumor well before the radiation is released from the machine.”
Leading Radiation Therapy in Goodyear, Arizona
Arizona Oncology is the only community-based cancer center in the West Valley to offer breast surgical oncology, radiation, and medical oncology all under one roof. The addition of the Halcyon Linac by Varian fits with our model of providing premier cancer care close to home.
Dr. D’Souza is pleased with the new acquisition and its performance so far: “Along with our very friendly team of therapists and assistants, I believe the new machine offers patients access to the most accurate and patient-friendly radiation treatment on this side of the metro.”