Cancer Patients in Southeastern Florida Now Benefiting From RapidArc(TM) Radiotherapy Treatments

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 General News
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PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 3 Sabin Robbins, a75-year old prostate cancer patient is among the first people in SoutheasternFlorida to benefit from treatment with new RapidArc(TM) radiotherapytechnology now in use at Bethesda Memorial Hospital's Comprehensive CancerCenter of Boynton Beach, Florida. RapidArc, which is made by Varian MedicalSystems (NYSE: VAR), unleashes the precision of intensity-modulated radiationtherapy (IMRT) two to eight times faster than was previously possible.Robbins, a former director of the National Zoo in Washington, DC, is mid-waythrough his eight and one half weeks of treatment.

"I feel very healthy for my age," said Robbins, who swims over 70 laps inhis pool each day. "When family and friends suggested that I go in for aphysical, I didn't pay much attention to the advice. Eventually, though, Igave in and agreed to a routine checkup, and the tests revealed that I hadprostate cancer! I feel very fortunate that I caught this cancer before moretime went by."

Doctors at Bethesda Comprehensive Cancer Center told Robbins he was acandidate for the new RapidArc technology. "I was told that RapidArc couldreduce my treatment time from 15 minutes to less than two minutes each day,"said Robbins, who sought out a second opinion from doctors at MassachusettsGeneral Hospital in Boston. They confirmed that he had prostate cancer andsupported the course of treatment recommended by doctors at Bethesda. SoRobbins returned home to begin RapidArc treatments.

"I have been pleasantly surprised at the quickness of the treatments,"adds Robins. "In fact, I find it fascinating to watch the treatment machinerotate around me as I lie on the table."

A RapidArc equipped linear accelerator delivers Robbins' daily treatmentsin a single rotation around him. During that rotation, the treatment beamcontinually morphs to the shape and volume of the tumor at every possibleangle.

Each of Robbins' treatments takes about 70 seconds to complete once he hasbeen positioned for treatment and image guidance technology has pinpointed thetumor's location.

"RapidArc allows us to more closely shape the treatment beam to thetumor," said Bruce Greene, MD, director of radiation oncology at Bethesda."Compared with conventional IMRT treatment plans, we are finding that normaltissue sparing is noticeably better with RapidArc. Because of this accuracy,we expect to improve clinical outcomes and reduce unwanted side effects."

Greene added that the speed of a RapidArc treatment can further enhancetreatment accuracy. "Normal physiology will cause a tumor to move slightly,even within the 7 to 10 minutes needed to complete a conventional IMRTtreatment," said Greene. "What we're seeing with RapidArc is that treatmentsare completed fast enough to reduce the range of tumor movement during thetreatment." Published studies suggest that faster treatments may also resultin higher cancer cell kill rates.

RapidArc radiotherapy technology has now been used for the treatment ofprostate, head and neck, lung, brain, spine, bone, gynecological, and softtissue cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates that, in the UnitedStates this year, doctors will diagnose 1,437,180 new cancer cases; over100,000 will occur in the state of Florida.

About Bethesda Memorial Hospital and Bethesda Comprehensive Cancer Center

Celebrating 50 years of caring for the community, Bethesda MemorialHospital, is a 401-bed, full service, not-for-profit hospital that servesSouth Palm Beach County. With a longstanding tradition of providing excellencein cancer care, Bethesda Comprehensive Cancer Center has two locations toserve our community. Our comprehensive cancer services include inpatient andoutpatient cancer services, support groups for the community and amulti-modality clinic for breast cancer patients at Bethesda Women's HealthCenter. Bethesda Memorial Hospital is a proud Affiliate of the H. Lee MoffittCancer Center & Research Institute at the University of South Florida, inTampa. FL. For more information, visit:

About Varian Medical Systems

Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California, is the world'sleading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer andother medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, andbrachytherapy. The company supplies informatics software for managingcomprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers and medical oncologypractices. Varian is a premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors forX-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications and alsosupplies X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection.Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 4,800 people who are located atmanufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 60 sales andsupport offices around the world. For more information, visit INFORMATION CONTACT: John Worlton, Varian Medical Systems 650-424-6438 or Lisa Kronhaus, Bethesda Healthcare System 561-737-7733, ext. 4320 or

SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.

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