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RapidArc Radiation Therapy

RapidArc technology delivers image-guided intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) very quickly, in a single rotation of the treatment machine. During treatment, the radiation is shaped and reshaped as it is continuously delivered from virtually every angle in a 360-degree revolution around the patient.

By delivering doses more quickly, we can simultaneously improve the quality of care and make our patients more comfortable.

RapidArc conforms the treatment beam more closely to the tumor shape helping to protect more healthy tissues including the spinal cord, brain stem, eyes, optic nerve and chiasm, parotid glands and brain.

How It Works

RapidArc uses photons (X-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.

The idea is to deliver the maximum dose of radiation to the cancerous tumor while reducing the amount of healthy tissue affected. During the course of a single 360 degree rotation by our linear accelerator, a complete treatment is delivered. RapidArc uses IMRT technology in an expedited delivery system to deliver the treatment in 2 to 3 minutes instead of 10 to 15 minutes. This is more comfortable for the patient and also leaves less time for patient movement during the treatment.

Treatment Process

RapidArc 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 scan) of the patient’s anatomy and then uses these images to specify the dose of radiation needed to treat the tumor. RapidArc beams can be as small as 2.5 x 2.5 millimeters. That’s the size of a pencil tip!


  • It’s fast – treatment is delivered in a fraction of the time it normally takes, increasing treatment accuracy and decreasing the amount of time patients must hold still for treatment. 
  • It’s precise - RapidArc target tumors accurately and spare more healthy tissue.
  • It’s simple - treatments are much simpler to plan and deliver, requiring fewer steps than conventional treatments.

Types of Cancer Treated with RapidArc Radiation Therapy

Currently, RapidArc Radiation Therapy is being used at the Cancer Center to treat:

The Cancer Center operates in partnership with Upstate Cancer Center.