Rapid Arc Technology offers Bay Medical patients fast treatments

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Panama City, FL --57-year-old Steve Merritt was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005. His prostate was removed. A few months ago, Merritt had a relapse.

Doctors at Bay Medical Center used a new cancer treatment called Rapid Arc Image-Guided Radiotherapy to treat Merritt.

"It’s much more comfortable for our patients," Dr. Hasan Murshed, a radiation oncologist said.

Merritt started Rapid Arc treatments six weeks ago. He's got three treatments left.

"I've not suffered any side effects," Merritt said.

Rapid Arc technology offers patients image-guided radiation therapy 360 degrees. In Merritt's case, technicians placed tiny gold markers inside of him to help pinpoint his tumor. The process begins with a quick ct scan to line up the location of the tumor with the right treatment plan.

"The images are then reviewed online, real-time and the patients are positioned and adjusted on the table within a millimeter of accuracy," Murshed said.

Instead of taking up to 20 minutes, this new treatment plan takes less than 2 minutes.

"I'm in and out of here. I can come down, get the treatment, head back to work and not lose any productive time," Merritt said.

When you breathe, or digest food, your body's internal organs shift. Rapid Arc rotates around the patient increasing precision and decreasing the likelihood of healthy tissue receiving too much radiation.

"It's been a lot less invasive that I thought it was going to be. I think Bay County is very fortunate to have something like this," Merritt said.

"It has a positive impact, physically and emotionally for our patients," Murshed said.

Merritt says Rapid Arc allows him to control his cancer and his life. And he's looking forward to a positive outcome.

Bay Medical Center is the only facility in Northwest Florida to have this state-of-the-art technology.

For more information on Rapid Arc, just log onto www.varian.com/us/oncology/treatments/treatment_techniques/rapidarc/

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