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HyperArc radiosurgery now offered at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

New technology delivers high-powered radiation in less time

Dr. Eric Mellon is a radiation oncologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. To learn more about HyperArc or to make a radiation oncology appointment, call 305-243-5302 or visit the University of Miami's health news blog at news.umiamihealth.org.

WILLIE'S STORY

A new technology available at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is providing faster, more comfortable radiation treatment for patients with brain tumors.

HyperArc high-definition radiotherapy is a form of radiosurgery that can treat brain tumors in as little as 15 minutes.

“HyperArc allows us to deliver a high dose of precise radiation to a brain tumor in a fast amount of time,” said Dr. Eric Mellon, a radiation oncologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center who specializes in brain tumors.

Mellon’s patient Willie Washington is the first person in South Florida to receive treatment using HyperArc. Two years ago, Willie was diagnosed with an atypical meningioma, a rare brain tumor that shares characteristics with both benign and malignant tumors. Willie’s tumor was surgically removed but recently returned. 

“He has a nodule about a centimeter in size. Because there's just one small area, we decided to use HyperArc,” Mellon said. “Once the plan is generated, we can deliver it with a press of the button. You don't feel anything and usually there are no side effects.”

After one treatment session, Willie’s brain tumor is expected to stop growing.

Other radiation therapies such as Gamma Knife require a patient’s head to be secured to the table using a metal brace, but a more comfortable mesh mask is used during HyperArc treatments. This, in addition to the faster treatment time, makes HyperArc appealing for patients.

“It was a blessing to come in here,” Willie said. “It's been a rough one, but I'm holding my head up. I think I might make it.”

Patients with multiple brain tumors stand to benefit most from HyperArc, Mellon said. A treatment that could take hours or even multiple visits using other methods can be completed in a fraction of the time using HyperArc. 

Sylvester’s Brain Tumor Initiative has the largest team of varied specialists in South Florida.

“With that level of specialization, you get that level of expertise that you just won't find at any other cancer center in South Florida," Mellon said. “We see the most difficult cases.”

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FOCUSING ON YOU

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