According to recently published reports, there are currently over 1 million people with cancer in Bangladesh, with approximately 200,000 new cases being reported annually and approximately 150,000 deaths associated with the disease. However, cancer patients in Bangladesh, a country of 160 million people served by just 11 modern radiotherapy linear accelerators, now have access to advanced radiotherapy technology from Palo Alto, CA-based Varian Medical Systems, the world's leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy. Varian supplies informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers, and medical oncology practices and is a premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications as well as X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection. Varian employs approximately 5,300 people at manufacturing sites across North America, Europe, and China and approximately 70 sales and support offices around the world.
Treatments using fast and efficient RapidArc technology with respiratory gating have started on a new Clinac iX medical linear accelerator at the new United Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Care Centre in the capital, Dhaka. United Hospital is a private, 450-bed multi-disciplinary hospital designated as a referral hospital by the Bangladesh government. It is situated on the lakeside area in Gulshan, a premier diplomatic and residential district of Dhaka.
Doctors at United Hospital have begun delivering RapidArc on prostate and head/neck cancer patients. The advanced RapidArc system delivers precise image-guided intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) up to four times faster than conventional IMRT. The RapidArc IMRT beam quickly delivers the dose while continuously rotating around the patient. Studies* show that faster treatments allow for greater precision, since there is less chance of patient or tumor movement during treatment delivery and, with less time on the treatment couch, also allow for greater patient comfort.
"As well as offering great precision and excellent dose distribution, RapidArc enables us to deliver the dose more quickly. This is a country with long waiting lists for treatment, so RapidArc will help us to treat many patients with advanced radiotherapy techniques. We are delighted to be the first hospital in the country to provide RapidArc for the benefit of our patients," says Dr. Ayan Basu, MD, head of radiation oncology at United Hospital, which is Bangladesh's first comprehensive cancer center. Dr. Basu said RapidArc is being used initially to treat cancers such as prostate and cervical and anal canal and will also be used for stereotactic body radiotherapy treatments, which involve the use of very high-dose beams to quickly attack certain types of tumors in areas like the lung, liver, or spine. Dr. Basu brings clinical expertise from the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, India, while chief medical physicist Mr. Karthick Raj Mani previously worked at the SGPGI in Lucknow, India.
The RapidArc-equipped Clinac device, ordered in June and installed in December, is the first treatment machine at the new facility. Two additional radiotherapy rooms have been constructed to allow for future expansion. United Hospital has acquired the first PET-CT and cyclotron in Bangladesh and also offers treatments using a Varian GammaMed high-dose rate brachytherapy afterloader.
"We are honoured to be associated with this wonderful new facility serving the people of Bangladesh. There are huge challenges facing cancer treatment in Bangladesh, with many patients travelling to Singapore and India for treatment, and we hope RapidArc at United will play its part in starting to address the country's extensive cancer burden," says Rolf Staehelin, Varian's iOriginals Prophere
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