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A Fast, New Cancer Fighting Tool Is Now Available in the Houston Area: RapidArc(TM) Radiotherapy Technology from Varian Medical Systems

PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Doctors at the Northwoods Cancer Center near Houston, Texas are now treating cancer patients using new RapidArc radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR). Jack Laxton, 84, a retired machinist fighting prostate cancer, is among the first patients in Houston to benefit from the speed and accuracy of RapidArc, which delivers image-guided intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) two to eight times faster than is possible with earlier radiotherapy technologies.

"My treatments go very quickly," said Laxton, who receives a RapidArc treatment each weekday at Northwoods Cancer Center in Shenandoah, a Houston suburb. "I'm mid-way through my nine weeks of treatment and I'm grateful to say that I haven't experienced any serious side effects. In fact, during the actual treatment, I usually don't feel anything at all."

"Mr. Laxton's treatments take only 80 seconds to complete once he has been positioned on the treatment couch, and treatments for our other RapidArc patients are going just as fast," said Christopher Phan, MD. "This makes things much easier and more comfortable for patients."

Dr. Phan adds that by decreasing the time a patient could make voluntary or involuntary movements during a treatment -- which is common during longer treatments -- RapidArc helps to deliver the radiation dose as planned. "RapidArc is fast enough to reduce the chance of dose delivery error due to tumor motion," said Dr. Phan. "Further, our treatment plan comparisons show that dosimetrically, the RapidArc plans are often better than the traditional IMRT plans in sparing the healthy tissue around a tumor."

In addition to increased convenience for patients and the potential for enhanced accuracy, the speed of a RapidArc treatment may have other potential benefits. Laboratory studies of the effect of radiation on cancer cells have suggested that faster treatments lead to a higher cancer cell kill rate.

RapidArc radiotherapy technology has now been used for the treatment of prostate, head and neck, lung, brain, spine, bone, gynecological, and soft tissue cancers. The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates show that, in 2008 there were 186,320 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States, with over 12,900 of those occurring in Texas.

About Northwoods Cancer Center (NCC)

Northwoods Cancer Center(NCC) is located in Woodlands, Texas. The Center offers the most cutting edge technology available to cancer patients. Board- certified physicians, nurses and other health professionals are passionate in their fight against cancer and their mission to provide excellent patient care. Northwoods Cancer Center is an affiliate of Northwoods Urology Associate, a comprehensive urology group that provides care to patients in the entire area north of Houston, Texas. Dr. Chris Phan is the CEO of EONS(Expert Oncology Network Solutions), a Houston-based leader in developing, constructing, and managing comprehensive cancer centers. For more information, please visit and

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 4,800 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 60 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit


John Worlton, Varian Medical Systems

650-424-6438 or

SOURCE Varian Medical Systems
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