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12th October 2023

What You Should Know About The Varian Halcyon™, The Latest Innovation In Radiotherapy Treatment Systems

Radiotherapy has been used successfully for many years as an effective treatment for cancer. Radiotherapy, also known as radiation therapy, is a common treatment used for various types of cancer. It involves the use of high-energy radiation to target and destroy cancer cells while minimising damage to surrounding healthy tissues. Radiotherapy is particularly effective for treating tumours that are localised to a specific area of the body. It can be used to target tumours that are difficult to access surgically, or in cases where surgery is not an option.

What is the Varian Halcyon™ system?

The Varian Halcyon™ is a radiation beam system designed to deliver high quality cancer treatment significantly faster than conventional machines, maximising patient comfort and safety while reducing treatment times by approximately 50%.

Halcyon enables the Mid-Western Radiation Oncology Centre in Limerick to deliver innovative, patient centred care in an environment that’s more patient friendly than ever.

Here are some of its benefits:

  • Fast: Halcyon is designed to provide treatment quickly and efficiently. Imaging can be completed in approximately 15 seconds, and treatments are typically completed in just nine steps. That means each patient’s time on the machine is greatly reduced. In fact, most treatments are completed in about 10 minutes, allowing minimum interruption to the patient’s day. That’s half of what’s expected with conventional machines. 
  • Patient-comfort: since Halcyon uses a quieter water-cooled system, there are no loud fans or cold air, so the treatment room can be kept at a much more comfortable temperature. Halcyon’s treatment couch can be moved to a low position, allowing patients to get on and off more easily. Spacious opening and ambient lighting help patients to feel as comfortable as possible during treatment. Halcyon’s imaging and treatment components are all enclosed, 
  • Clinical precision: Halcyon delivers a precise, tightly focused radiation dose that conforms to the shape of the patient’s tumour while minimizing impact on surrounding healthy tissue.
  • Safety: Halcyon includes an integrated camera and intercom, allowing the therapist to watch over the patient and speak with them at all times. The machine is fitted with in bore movement sensors to ensure maximum safety in delivering the treatment.

Mid-Western Radiation Oncology Centre

Since 2005, we have been treating and caring for radiotherapy patients in the mid-west. The Mid-Western Radiation Oncology Centre is the only specialist radiotherapy treatment centre in Limerick.

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How long is a course of radiotherapy treatments? 

Typically, radiotherapy treatments are given five days a week over a period of two to six weeks or more. The course of treatment length varies depending on the diagnosis. Our team, led by the consultant radiation oncologist, will advise on duration of treatment.

What is unique about treatment using Varian’s Halcyon technology?

High quality of care. Halcyon delivers treatments in a fraction of the time it takes with traditional machines, without compromising quality. Its dual-layer MLC has been optimized for modulated treatments, giving it the ability to target tumours with pinpoint accuracy while minimising the exposure of surrounding healthy tissue.

Human-centered design. Halcyon is designed to deliver advanced treatments in an environment that’s more patient friendly than ever. During a radiotherapy treatment with Halcyon, the imaging and treatment-delivery components are enclosed, so the patient doesn’t see anything rotating around them. A spacious opening, ambient lighting, and relaxing music help keep patients comfortable during treatment. Halcyon also features an integrated camera and intercom that allow for constant audio and visual contact between the patient and the therapist. Treatments can be completed in around 10 minutes, so patients can get back to their lives with minimal disruption.


Helpful link

To learn more about Varian's Halcyon, please visit the following link


Radiotherapy, also called radiation therapy, is a highly targeted, highly effective way to destroy cancer cells.

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