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Cancer Patients Benefit From Speed, Accuracy of RapidArc Radiotherapy Treatments

Saturday, September 19, 2009 General News J E 4
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PALO ALTO, Calif., July 16 Peter Campbell, 65, was struggling to find the words to communicate. When his wife asked what his name was and where he lived, he couldn't think of the answers. Following a CT scan of his brain, he learned that an aggressive type of brain tumor was hindering his speech and language functions. The tumor was removed surgically, and as is standard for treating this type of brain tumor, Campbell began a seven-week course of radiotherapy that is targeting the area where the lesion was removed, in order to kill any cancer cells that might have been left behind.

In his particular case, the daily treatments are taking two minutes to complete rather than the 20 minutes that would have been required using the previous generation of technology. Doctors at the Space Coast Cancer Center in Titusville, Florida are using RapidArc(TM) radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical System (NYSE: VAR). This fast and highly-accurate approach enables doctors to deliver image-guided radiotherapy that precisely conforms to a targeted area two to eight times faster than was previously possible.

"Before my brain tumor was discovered, I could tell that my communication skills were going down fast," said Campbell, a former educator who has held several public and private administrative positions. "I'm usually very good at crossword puzzles, but suddenly I couldn't think of a single word to answer the clues. At a party, I had to smile and nod my head because I couldn't understand what my friends were telling me. This was scary. Thankfully, my speech abilities returned to normal after surgery, and since then, the RapidArc treatments have been as simple as could be."

Campbell's radiotherapy began in May and will continue through July. Each weekday, after he's positioned on a treatment table, a machine equipped with RapidArc delivers his daily treatment in about two minutes. "I don't feel any discomfort during a session, and after I'm through, I'm able to sit right up and walk out of the center," he said.

"RapidArc was the best choice for Peter because it is much more precise than alternative treatment methods," said Cindy Bryant, MD, a radiation oncologist at Space Coast. "The RapidArc plan conformed very closely to the part of his brain where his tumor had been, allowing us to avoid the optic nerves and other important sensitive tissues. But if there's even a little movement during a treatment, our ability to be this accurate can be affected. That's why RapidArc is so valuable to us--the treatments are over before a patient has had much time to move."

Dr. Bryant added, "This is an especially aggressive kind of brain tumor, so we'll of course be watching very closely how Peter's doing. RapidArc radiotherapy is an important component of his overall treatment."

About Space Coast Cancer Center (SCCC)

Serving the residents of Brevard County since 1983, SCCC, an affiliate of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, is a comprehensive oncology practice serving the residents of Brevard County, Florida. SCCC physicians offer a full range of diagnostic laboratory studies and comprehensive outpatient chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biologic therapy, and immune therapy infusion services. The practice also participates in onside clinical trials, collaborating with the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Shands Cancer Center, and the National Cancer Institute.

About Varian Medical Systems

Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California, is the world's leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy. The company supplies informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers and medical oncology practices. Varian is a premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications and also supplies X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 5,100 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, China, and Europe and in its 79 offices and facilities around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com/.

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT: John Worlton, Varian Medical Systems 650-424-6438 or john.worlton@varian.com

SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
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