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

PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sabin Robbins, a 75-year old prostate cancer patient is among the first people in Southeastern Florida to benefit from treatment with new RapidArc(TM) radiotherapy technology now in use at Bethesda Memorial Hospital's Comprehensive Cancer Center of Boynton Beach, Florida. RapidArc, which is made by Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR), unleashes the precision of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) two to eight times faster than was previously possible. Robbins, a former director of the National Zoo in Washington, DC, is mid-way through his eight and one half weeks of treatment.

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

Doctors at Bethesda Comprehensive Cancer Center told Robbins he was a candidate for the new RapidArc technology. "I was told that RapidArc could reduce my treatment time from 15 minutes to less than two minutes each day," said Robbins, who sought out a second opinion from doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. They confirmed that he had prostate cancer and supported the course of treatment recommended by doctors at Bethesda. So Robbins 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 machine rotate around me as I lie on the table."

A RapidArc equipped linear accelerator delivers Robbins' daily treatments in a single rotation around him. During that rotation, the treatment beam continually morphs to the shape and volume of the tumor at every possible angle.

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

"RapidArc allows us to more closely shape the treatment beam to the tumor," said Bruce Greene, MD, director of radiation oncology at Bethesda. "Compared with conventional IMRT treatment plans, we are finding that normal tissue 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 enhance treatment accuracy. "Normal physiology will cause a tumor to move slightly, even within the 7 to 10 minutes needed to complete a conventional IMRT treatment," said Greene. "What we're seeing with RapidArc is that treatments are completed fast enough to reduce the range of tumor movement during the treatment." Published studies suggest that faster treatments may also result in higher cancer cell kill rates.

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 estimates that, in the United States this year, doctors will diagnose 1,437,180 new cancer cases; over 100,000 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 Memorial Hospital, is a 401-bed, full service, not-for-profit hospital that serves South Palm Beach County. With a longstanding tradition of providing excellence in cancer care, Bethesda Comprehensive Cancer Center has two locations to serve our community. Our comprehensive cancer services include inpatient and outpatient cancer services, support groups for the community and a multi-modality clinic for breast cancer patients at Bethesda Women's Health Center. Bethesda Memorial Hospital is a proud Affiliate of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. FL. For more information, visit:

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

Lisa Kronhaus, Bethesda Healthcare System

561-737-7733, ext. 4320 or

SOURCE Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
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