Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy

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Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a new technology designed to deliver your treatment quickly and accurately. If appropriate for the treatment of your cancer, it can reduce your number of visits and speed up recovery time.

For VMAT, the patient lies on the machine’s padded bench, while a large barrel delivers the radiation, sweeping in uninterrupted arcs. This movement may seem random, but it is carefully planned – using 3D imaging, your radiation therapist will be able to ‘see’ the tumour during your treatment and target it directly.

In more detail

VMAT is works by delivering single or multiple radiation beams in continuous sweeping arcs around the patient.

The arcing movement of the radiation means the shape and intensity of the beams change as the machine rotates. This reduces the dose of radiation to the normal tissue while focussing the dose on the cancer.

This delivers fast and accurate treatment, reducing the number of patient visits and greatly improving recovery time. It also allows tumors to be treated that are near critical structures in the body. In cases where a tumour is wrapped around an organ, for example, VMAT can much more accurately target the tumour while minimising damage to the organ

VMAT may reduce treatment times to as little as two minutes. This is six to ten minutes less than the more conventional radiation therapies. VMAT also provides the radiation oncologist with more accuracy and control during treatment, and the best information to determine an optimal dose to deliver in each case. VMAT technology maximizes the radiation dose to the target while minimising exposure to surrounding healthy tissues.

VMAT is often particularly useful for treating cancers in delicate areas such as the breast, prostate and lung.